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      Patient safety in inpatient mental health settings: a systematic review


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          Patients in inpatient mental health settings face similar risks (eg, medication errors) to those in other areas of healthcare. In addition, some unsafe behaviours associated with serious mental health problems (eg, self-harm), and the measures taken to address these (eg, restraint), may result in further risks to patient safety. The objective of this review is to identify and synthesise the literature on patient safety within inpatient mental health settings using robust systematic methodology.


          Systematic review and meta-synthesis. Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Health Management Information Consortium, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science were systematically searched from 1999 to 2019. Search terms were related to ‘mental health’, ‘patient safety’, ‘inpatient setting’ and ‘research’. Study quality was assessed using the Hawker checklist. Data were extracted and grouped based on study focus and outcome. Safety incidents were meta-analysed where possible using a random-effects model.


          Of the 57 637 article titles and abstracts, 364 met inclusion criteria. Included publications came from 31 countries and included data from over 150 000 participants. Study quality varied and statistical heterogeneity was high. Ten research categories were identified: interpersonal violence, coercive interventions, safety culture, harm to self, safety of the physical environment, medication safety, unauthorised leave, clinical decision making, falls and infection prevention and control.


          Patient safety in inpatient mental health settings is under-researched in comparison to other non-mental health inpatient settings. Findings demonstrate that inpatient mental health settings pose unique challenges for patient safety, which require investment in research, policy development, and translation into clinical practice.

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          Most cited references372

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          Transforming healthcare: a safety imperative.

          Ten years ago, the Institute of Medicine reported alarming data on the scope and impact of medical errors in the US and called for national efforts to address this problem. While efforts to improve patient safety have proliferated during the past decade, progress toward improvement has been frustratingly slow. Some of this lack of progress may be attributable to the persistence of a medical ethos, institutionalized in the hierarchical structure of academic medicine and healthcare organizations, that discourages teamwork and transparency and undermines the establishment of clear systems of accountability for safe care. The Lucian Leape Institute, established by the US National Patient Safety Foundation to provide vision and strategic direction for the patient safety work, has identified five concepts as fundamental to the endeavor of achieving meaningful improvement in healthcare system safety. These five concepts are transparency, care integration, patient/consumer engagement, restoration of joy and meaning in work, and medical education reform. This paper introduces the five concepts and illustrates the meaning and implications of each as a component of a vision for healthcare safety improvement. In future roundtable sessions, the Institute will further elaborate on the meaning of each concept, identify the challenges to implementation, and issue recommendations for policy makers, organizations, and healthcare professionals.
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            Interrater Reliability in Systematic Review Methodology: Exploring Variation in Coder Decision-Making

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              Review: engaging patients as vigilant partners in safety: a systematic review.

              Several initiatives promote patient involvement in error prevention, but little is known about its feasibility and effectiveness. A systematic review was conducted on the evidence of patients' attitudes toward engagement in error prevention and the effectiveness of efforts to increase patient participation. Database searches yielded 3,840 candidate articles, of which 21 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Patients share a positive attitude about engaging in their safety at a general level, but their intentions and actual behaviors vary considerably. Studies applied theories of planned behavior and indicate that self-efficacy, preventability of incidents, and effectiveness of actions seem to be central to patients' intention to engage in error prevention. Rigorous evaluations of major educational campaigns are lacking. Interventions embedded within clinical settings have been effective to some extent. Evidence suggests that involvement in safety may be successful if interventions promote complex behavioral change and are sensitively implemented in health care settings.

                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                23 December 2019
                : 9
                : 12
                : e030230
                [1 ] departmentNIHR Imperial Patient Safety Tranlsational Research Centre, Department of Surgery and Cancer , Imperial College London , London, UK
                [2 ] departmentCentre for Behaviour Change, Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology , University College London , London, UK
                [3 ] departmentDepartment of Public Health and Primary Care , University of Cambridge , Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Stephanie Archer; stephanie.archer@ 123456imperial.ac.uk

                BT and LHD are joint first authors.

                Author information
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                : 05 March 2019
                : 11 October 2019
                : 20 November 2019
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000272, National Institute for Health Research;
                Award ID: 2012-2017 Patient Safety Translational Research Ce
                Mental Health
                Original Research
                Custom metadata

                patient safety,mental health,inpatient settings,systematic review
                patient safety, mental health, inpatient settings, systematic review


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