Ageing in forensic psychiatric secure settings: the views of members of staff [2018]

Background: Although the prevalence of older patients in forensic psychiatric services is increasing, research around service provision for this population is very limited. We aimed to gather the views of members of staff on how well secure services are meeting the challenges of an ageing population.

Methods: Three focus groups were carried out with 13 members of staff working with older patients in secure services. A topic guide, based on the research team’s previous research, guided the sessions. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed through thematic analysis.

Results: Two themes were identified: (1) Identifying patients’ needs, which focused on how promptly any emerging issues in the older patients are identified and reported; (2) addressing patients’ needs, which focused on how the unique needs of the older patients are addressed, once established.

Conclusions: There are unique age-related issues that may have an impact on the older patients’ opportunities for recovery, including a lack of specialist training for members of staff, prolonged stay in secure care and a limited number of age-relevant activities. Far from optimal, provision requires improvement through the active involvement of the primary stakeholders.

Claudio Di Lorito, Tom Dening & Birgit Völlm
The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 06 Dec 2018