The Acute Inpatient Experience: Treatment Or Trauma?

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By May 14, 2015 No Comments

Authors: Christine J. Palmer

Year: 2002

Event: 2002 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Inpatient & Residential Rehabilitation book of proceedings

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: It is argued that the messages from consumers today have a more powerful influence because the audience has been prepared to hear them in a new way. However, there are many explicit consumer accounts of the inpatient experience indicating that mental health care in this environment is harmful, or at least that it can be for some. But, despite the very public reporting of these experiences, there remains an emphasis on responding to acute mental distress with incarceration in hospital wards, often in locked environments.

Even though there is a political mandate to embrace the principles of recovery and engage people collaboratively in the face of mental distress, there is an opposing political pressure to ensure safety in the most cost-effective manner. Safety encompasses consumers, the public, and of course, the good name of the health service. This has resulted in a more custodial approach to caring for people with acute mental distress. Following consideration of the consumer experience, the aim of this paper is to explore some of the factors that have shaped the way acute inpatient care is delivered, including political forces, economic constraints, and organisational demands.

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