What do we know about the risks for young people moving into, through and out of inpatient mental health care? Findings from an evidence synthesis.

D Edwards, N Evans, E Gillen, M Longo, S Pryjmachuk, G Trainor, B Hannigan

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    Abstract Background: Young people with complex or severe mental health needs sometimes require care and treatment in inpatient settings. There are risks for young people in this care context, and this study addressed the question: ‘What is known about the identification, assessment and management of risk in young people (aged 11–18) with complex mental health needs entering, using and exiting inpatient child and adolescent mental health services in the UK?’ Methods: In phase 1 a scoping search of two electronic databases (MEDLINE and PsychINFO) was undertaken. Items included were themed and presented to members of a stakeholder advisory group, who were asked to help prioritise the focus for phase 2. In phase 2, 17 electronic databases (EconLit; ASSIA; BNI; Cochrane Library; CINAHL; ERIC; EMBASE; HMIC; MEDLINE; PsycINFO; Scopus; Social Care Online; Social Services Abstracts; Sociological Abstracts; OpenGrey; TRiP; and Web of Science) were searched. Websites were explored and a call for evidence was circulated to locate items related to the risks to young people in mental health hospitals relating to ‘dislocation’ and ‘contagion’. All types of evidence including research, policies and service and practice responses relating to outcomes, views and experiences, costs and cost-effectiveness were considered. Materials identified were narratively synthesised. Results: In phase 1, 4539 citations were found and 124 items included. Most were concerned with clinical risks. In phase 2, 15,662 citations were found, and 40 addressing the risks of ‘dislocation’ and ‘contagion’ were included supplemented by 20 policy and guidance documents. The quality of studies varied. Materials were synthesised using the categories: Dislocation: Normal Life; Dislocation: Identity; Dislocation: Friends; Dislocation: Stigma; Dislocation: Education; Dislocation: Families; and Contagion. No studies included an economic analysis. Although we found evidence of consideration of risk to young people in these areas we found little evidence to improve practice and services. Conclusions: The importance to stakeholders of the risks of ‘dislocation’ and ‘contagion’ contrasted with the limited quantity and quality of evidence to inform policy, services and practice. The risks of dislocation and contagion are important, but new research is needed to inform how staff might identify, assess and manage them.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
    Issue number55
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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