Whilst individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) represent a relatively small proportion of patients detained in high-secure psychiatric care (HSPC), previous research suggests that such individuals present with difficulties and needs significantly different from non-ASD patient groups. However, to date, there has not been any formal examination of how individuals with an ASD are represented in records of key risk management actions (i.e. seclusions and incompatibilities with other patients). The paper aims to discuss these issues.
An observation of hospital data examining two key risk management actions for a group of individuals with an ASD is detained in one HSPC hospital. These include the number of formal incompatibilities with other patients and the number of, and hours in, seclusion. Both actions require extra staff and security provisions and can decelerate the rehabilitation and recovery process.
In addition to suggesting an overall increase in the general prevalence of ASD within the hospital compared to previous estimates, individuals with an ASD appear to have a disproportionately higher number of incompatibilities with other patients compared to those patients without an ASD and experience more and longer periods of seclusions.
Although the methodological limitations of the study are acknowledged, explanations for the findings are discussed along with future research and recommendations as to how ASD patients might be best managed in the hospital. It is argued that the findings add further support for a specialist ASD service within HSPC.
Murphy, D., Bush, E. and Puzzo, I. (2017), "Incompatibilities and seclusion of patients with an autism spectrum disorder detained in high-secure psychiatric care", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 188-200. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIDOB-05-2017-0007Download as .RIS
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