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Journal Article


McIvor L, Payne-Gill J, Winter H, Pollard C, Beck A. Adm. Policy Ment. Health 2023; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2023, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Instances of violence and aggression in acute psychiatric settings are common and highly distressing for service users and staff. They also incur financial costs. This study aimed to identify the proportion of service users at risk of consistent violence/aggression enactment. It also aimed to analyse associated service use to explore the potential need for specialised, targeted approaches. Five years' worth of data were extracted from 2016 to 2020 on inpatient stays across South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) acute adult wards and Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs). Service users were divided into cohorts based on relative number of violent/agressive incidents enacted. Differences in frequency of acute service use during the period 1(st) January-31(st) December 2020 were analysed. In total, 2524 service users had at least one inpatient stay during 2020. 679 were recorded as having enacted at least one incident of violence or aggression. Just 4% of all service users accounted for 50% of all violence/aggression enactment.

RESULTS further showed strong evidence of group differences between violence cohorts in the following domains: internal transfers, occupied bed days, admissions and Place of Safety (PoS) referrals. There was weaker evidence for group differences in referrals to Home Treatment teams (HTTs) and Psychiatric Liaison Teams. A small proportion of service users disproportionately account for the majority of violent and aggressive incidents and higher levels of violence and aggression are associated with more acute service use. The provision of targeted, personalised interventions for this cohort may reduce the enactment of violence and aggression, leading to improved quality life and a reduction in financial expenditure.

Language: en


Psychiatry; Violence; Aggression; Inpatients; Mental Health Services


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