Further research required into the use of coerced medication
More research is needed to examine the practice of forcing psychiatricpatients to take their medicines, a study published concludes
More research is needed to examine the practice of forcing psychiatric patients to take their medicines, a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing (2008;64:537) concludes.
The authors state that there have been few rigorous investigations into the procedure, which they term coerced medication (CM), and say that further research is needed to more clearly define CM, explore risk assessments and concerns of patients who receive CM and examine possible alternatives.
Earlier and more effective interventions might be useful in minimising the use of CM, and better staff training could help to avoid it, they point out.
David Branford, chief pharmacist at Derbyshire mental health services trust, described the findings as “not very surprising”. He added: “Ultimately, achieving medicines compliance through information, persuasion and insight in always preferable. However, that may not always be achievable.
“For specialist mental health pharmacists understanding the legal framework for coercive treatment is a key aspect of their work as they are often best placed to act as medicines advocates working with other professionals, patients and relatives to achieve the best use of medicines in the most acceptable manner.”
The study revealed that patients receiving CM are most likely to be in their 30s with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or another psychiatric disorder.
Fourteen papers from seven countries published between 1987 and 2004 were analysed, which included interviews with 543 patients and 263 staff and analysis of 1,165 forms and records from the UK, US, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Canada and Denmark.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10043391
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