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Door locking and exit security measures on acute psychiatric admission wards
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, University Hospital.
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, ISSN 1351-0126, E-ISSN 1365-2850, Vol. 18, no 7, 614-621 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Locking the exit doors of psychiatric wards is believed to reduce the risk of patients absconding. The aims of the study were to investigate both the prevalence of door locking and other exit security measures on UK admission wards, as well as whether door locking appears to be effective in keeping inpatients in. A cross-sectional survey on 136 acute psychiatric wards in the UK was conducted, in which a range of data on patients, staff, and conflict and containment events, including door locking and absconding, were collected from shift to shift during a period of 6 months. About one-third of the participating wards (30%) operated with their ward exit door permanently locked, whereas another third (34%) never locked the ward door. Univariate analyses suggested little association between exit security measures and absconding. A more robust multilevel statistical analysis, however, did indicate a reduction of about 30% of absconding rates when the ward door was locked the entire shift. Although locking the ward door does seem to reduce absconding to a certain extent, it far from completely prevents it. As it may be unrealistic to strive for a 100% absconding-proof ward, alternative measures for door locking to prevent absconding are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 18, no 7, 614-621 p.
Keyword [en]
absconding, aggression, coercion, locked wards
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158300DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01716.xISI: 000294011900009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-158300DiVA: diva2:439309
Available from: 2011-09-07 Created: 2011-09-06 Last updated: 2011-09-07Bibliographically approved

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