An exploration of MDT views on key factors to consider when determining a service users required level of security

Zulaikha Khan (GM Specialist Support Team, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK)
Arun Chidambaram (Forensic Psychiatry Service, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK)
Michaela Thomson (Research and Development Department, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK)
Courtney Hurst (GM Specialist Support Team, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK)

The Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 2050-8794

Publication date: 31 January 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify what key factors multi-disciplinary teams (MDT) deem as most important when making the decision to move service users from one level of security (including low, medium and high secure services) to another. The researchers used the findings from this study to further develop a tool; the assessment for level of security tool (ALS), which aims to structure and streamline this decision-making process.

Design/methodology/approach

Data from 18 interviews (MDT staff) were analysed using the Delphi technique (Dalkey and Helmer, 1963). This revealed a range of factors discussed when considering service users moves. Participants were asked to rate these factors in accordance with the Delphi which resulted in the removal of certain less important factors based on their scores. The researchers then compared these factors of relevance with a checklist of 16 items previously proposed by a consultant psychiatrist within the trust. This comparison allowed the researchers to highlight any similarities and differences present.

Findings

Findings from staff interviews revealed a range of 20 clinical factors perceived as essential to this process including procedural, relational and physical security aspects. However, variations were evident between the MDT priorities (20 items) and the originally proposed list. This emphasised the need for a tool which facilitates a holistic and streamlined approach.

Practical implications

The findings from this research have resulted in the development of the ALS tool comprising of 18 key factors.

Originality/value

It is envisaged the development of the ALS tool will not only facilitate and structure the decision-making process but also ensure a person-centred approach. This is because the ALS allows for a holistic approach based on an array of factors deemed important to that particular service user. Furthermore, the ALS tool contributes towards the paucity of published structured professional judgement tools needed to make such decisions.

Keywords

Citation

Khan, Z., Chidambaram, A., Thomson, M. and Hurst, C. (2019), "An exploration of MDT views on key factors to consider when determining a service users required level of security", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 38-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-10-2018-0039

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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