Safety, risk, and aggression: Health professionals’ experiences of caring for people affected by methamphetamine when presenting for emergency care

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 2017, 26 (5), pp. 437 - 444
Issue Date:
2017-10-01
Metrics:
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© 2017 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc. The crystalline form of methamphetamine, commonly known as crystal meth (crystal methamphetamine) or ICE, is a highly-addictive and powerful stimulant. Users of crystal meth often require emergency care, and are associated with a substantial burden of care by emergency care providers. The aim of the present qualitative study was to explore health professionals’ experiences of providing care for patients affected by ICE who presented to the emergency department (ED). Nine semistructured interviews were conducted. The major theme, ‘staying safe’, was revealed, in which participants described their experiences of being exposed to potentially unsafe situations, and their responses to challenging behaviours, including aggression. The findings highlight the need for ED staff to understand the nature of ICE use and its adverse impact on the mental and physical health of users. Furthermore, it is clear that establishing and maintaining safety in the emergency care setting is of utmost importance, and should be a priority for health-care managers.
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