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Journal Article


Lundahl A, Torenfält M, Helgesson G, Juth N. Nord. J. Psychiatry 2023; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2023, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






BACKGROUND: Previous research on patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) has indicated negative effects, including increased suicidality, from long hospital admissions and paternalism. Still, long-term compulsory admissions have been reported to occur regularly. Less is known about how healthcare personnel perceives these admissions and to what extent they think the use of compulsory care can be diminished. This study addresses those questions to make care more beneficial.

METHODS: A questionnaire study, the respondents being nurses and psychiatric aides employed at psychiatric hospital wards in Sweden. The questionnaire contained questions with fixed answers and room for comments. 422 questionnaires were distributed to 21 wards across Sweden, and the response rate was 66%. The data were analysed with descriptive statistics and qualitative descriptive content analysis.

RESULTS: Most respondents experienced that more than a week's compulsory admission either increased (68%) or had no effect (26%) on self-harm behaviour. A majority (69%) considered the compulsory admissions to be too long at their wards, with detrimental effects on the patients. They also recognized several reasons for compulsory admissions without medical indication, like doctors' fear of complaints and patients' lack of housing. Also, patients sometimes demand compulsory care. Respondents recommended goal-oriented care planning, around three-day-long voluntary admissions, and better outpatient care to reduce compulsory hospital admissions.

DISCUSSION: These findings imply that many BPD patients are regularly forced to receive psychiatric care that inadvertently can make them self-harm more. The respondents' comments can be used as a source when formulating clinical guidelines.

Language: en


Self-harm; suicide prevention; borderline personality disorder; inpatient care; medical ethics


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