As the beliefs people hold exert more influence over their behaviour than any other single factor, the purpose of this paper is to elicit those held by service users about being cared for in acute mental health settings.
Data were collected by means of a semi‐structured, non‐standardised, 17‐item interview schedule from an opportunistic sample of 44 respondents (18 men and 26 women) following their admission over a nine‐month period.
Findings suggest that those admitted to acute care settings harbour very different beliefs about what to expect, what is being offered and how it will affect them. While some respondents saw admission as an event simply to be endured, others saw it as a means of gaining relief, accessing better care and treatment as well as providing respite for their families. Whereas previous knowledge and experience of acute care did influence their beliefs, this was largely due to how they interpreted experiences rather than the experiences themselves. The data also suggest that service users can be assisted to reframe their beliefs by means of genuine, consistent and empathic relationships, thus putting services users in a position to derive maximum benefit from being admitted.
Relatively little attention has been paid to the beliefs that service users have on entry to mental health services, in comparison to that paid to problem‐identification, care planning and intervention regimens. A starting point for any health care intervention, especially mental health care, should be the identification of the beliefs held by those about to embark on treatment programmes. This area deserves much more attention than it has been given hitherto.
Nolan, P., Bradley, E. and Brimblecombe, N. (2011), "Service users' beliefs about acute in‐patient admission", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 142-149. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556221111171748
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