Safety of service users with severe mental illness receiving inpatient care on medical and surgical wards: A systematic review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 2018, 27 (1), pp. 46 - 60
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© 2018 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc. This review aimed to synthesize the evidence on the likelihood of harm and mortality on medical and surgical inpatient wards for people with severe mental illness (SMI). From 937 results identified through database searching, and a further 10 papers identified through citation searching and hand searching, 11 papers met the criteria for inclusion in the final review. This review did not find strong evidence for higher in-hospital mortality in people with SMI. There was evidence that adverse events are higher in people with SMI. A higher likelihood of emergency instead of planned care, and poorer access to treatment were identified as potential contributing factors to these adverse events. In addition, service users with SMI were more likely to have a longer length of stay, associated with a higher cost of care. The severity of the mental illness increased the likelihood of harm or death, and people with schizophrenia were more likely than people with other mental illnesses to experience these adverse outcomes. There is evidence that people with SMI are provided with lower-quality health care, whereas higher-quality, better-planned care is required to overcome the inequalities in access faced by this vulnerable population.
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