Observation levels are widely used in the management of acutely disturbed psychiatric patients (Shugar & Rehaluk, 1990). Although clinicians are involved in decisions about observation levels, there is rarely any specific training and very little formal structure to the decision making process. We report a survey of the views and knowledge of clinical staff regarding observation levels. Questionnaires were sent to all the nurses of the six acute psychiatric wards in the Nottingham Mental Health Unit, and all the doctors involved in the care of patients on these wards.
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