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Long-stay patients with and without intellectual disability in forensic psychiatric settings: comparison of characteristics and needs

  • Verity Chester (a1), Birgit Völlm (a2), Samuel Tromans (a3), Chaya Kapugama (a4) and Regi T. Alexander (a5)...
Abstract
Background

In recent years, concerns have been raised that too many patients stay for too long in forensic psychiatric services and that this is a particular problem in those with an intellectual disability.

Aims

To compare the characteristics, needs, and care pathways of long-stay patients with and without intellectual disability within forensic psychiatric hospital settings in England.

Method

File reviews and questionnaires were completed for all long-stay patients in high secure and a representative sample of those in medium secure settings in England. Between-group analyses comparing patients with and without intellectual disability are reported.

Results

Of the 401 long-stay patients, the intellectual disability and non-intellectual disability groups were strikingly similar on many sociodemographic, clinical and forensic variables. The intellectual disability group had significantly lower lengths of stay, fewer criminal sections, restriction orders and prison transfers, and higher levels of behavioural incidents and risk assessment scores.

Conclusions

In spite of similar offence histories and higher risk levels, those with intellectual disability appear to be diverted away from the criminal justice system and have shorter lengths of stay. This has implications about the applicability of the Transforming Care programme to this group.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Regi T. Alexander, Consultant Psychiatrist, Little Plumstead Hospital, Norwich, Norfolk NR13 5EW, UK. Email: regialexander@nhs.net
References
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Long-stay patients with and without intellectual disability in forensic psychiatric settings: comparison of characteristics and needs

  • Verity Chester (a1), Birgit Völlm (a2), Samuel Tromans (a3), Chaya Kapugama (a4) and Regi T. Alexander (a5)...
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