A Comparison of Staff and Patient Perceptions of the Causes and Cures of Physical Aggression on a Psychiatric Unit

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Objective: The purpose of the study was to compare staff versus patient perceptions of the causes and emotional impact of verbal and physical aggression on a psychiatric inpatient unit, and the corrective measures each group would endorse. Methods: Fifty-four patients and 32 nursing staff members responded to similar questions about physical and verbal aggression. They also reported their emotional responses to aggression and steps they would endorse to reduce aggression at the medical center. Data was analyzed by chi-square tests for proportion comparisons between groups. Results: “Verbal Abuse” was viewed an important contributor to physical aggression. Staff stressed patient substance abuse and violent lifestyles. Patients focused on the use of involuntary procedures and cultural differences between patients and staff. Conclusions: Patients endorsed more restrictive safety measures as long as the measures such as metal detectors and searches were applied to staff and visitors, as well as patients. Patients requested more input into decision-making processes through patient-staff workgroups.



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