Absconding constitutes a significant clinical problem, leading to high levels of anxiety among staff. Ninety-five psychiatric in-patients who absconded from an Irish hospital over a period of 12 months were reviewed retrospectively. Absconders were significantly more likely to be single and compulsorily detained with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or personality disorder when compared to the remaining hospital population for that year. Common destinations included the public house and home, with most returning of their own volition within 24 hours. The rates of self-harm and violence against others are recorded.
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