Staff perceptions of substance use among acute psychiatry inpatients

I Ryrie, J McGowan
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 1998, 5 (2): 137-42
This paper reports on a small-scale study undertaken in two inner city acute psychiatric wards to identify the proportion of patients known to use drugs or alcohol and the perceptions of staff regarding these patients. Data collection involved a retrospective audit of patient notes and the administration of a questionnaire to nursing staff. The findings were broadly consistent with other research studies. Over half of the patient sample was reported to use illicit drugs or alcohol and in one third of cases this use was thought to have contributed to their current admission. Questionnaire results indicated that staff felt ill-equipped to offer an adequate response although all respondents welcomed opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills. The findings are discussed in light of the existing literature, and some tentative conclusions are drawn concerning the development and provision of effective integrated services for individuals with psychiatric and psychoactive substance use disorders.

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