“They All Said You Could Come and Speak to Us”: Patients’ Expectations and Experiences of Help on an Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Ward

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Abstract

Background: Acute psychiatric inpatient care forms an integral part of mental health services. Few studies have focussed on the patient experience of acute care. Research into patient experience is increasingly important to policy and service development processes. Knowledge of patient experiences facilitates the development of nursing practice.
Aim of the Study: To gain insight into the experience of being a patient on an acute inpatient psychiatric ward.
Method: 13 Participants were recruited from the acute ward. Unstructured interviews were used to gather narrative data of their experiences
Analysis: Holistic analysis of the narratives was informed by Gee’s (1991) socio-linguistic theories that meaning is linked to narrative structure. Reading of the holistic analyses yielded themes of help, safety and power running across the participants’ experiences.
Findings: The patient experience was characterised by dissonance between expectation and experience, the search for a nurse-patient relationship, and the development of strategies to cope with being on the acute ward. This paper focuses on the theme of ‘Help’ where participants describe their expectation that they will receive help through the development of relationships with the nurses, and their experience of the barriers to this. In response, participants developed strategies to support each other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date18 Nov 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

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