In spite of the rising global awareness about patient security, there has been a lack of its application in mental health hospitals located in Delhi.
Safety of patients residing in mental hospitals refers to the deterrence of injury or damage caused to the physical or mental health of the patients as a result of violence or other forms of aggression while they are receiving mental healthcare services. This also includes and is not limited to happenings like errors made during treatment and mishaps that ensue during residence of patients in mental hospitals. Of late, the interest in patient safety as a discipline has been increasing at an escalating rate.
It is not easy to provide mental healthcare safely in a mental hospital, to those patients who are sensitive and more vulnerable to picking fights with other resident patients.
Some groups of patients who look for mental healthcare, approach psychologists and psychiatrists at mental hospitals with complications that distinguish themselves from those patients who are not very prone to violence. Treatment of such patients is a greater challenge for the team of service providers at mental hospitals as compared to the treatment of those patients who cooperate with the staff and other patients.
While also facing the perils of the common mishaps occurring while being treated (falling, wrong medication being administered, contracting infections, etc), violent resident individuals with mental health illnesses or disorders are also at the risk of compromising other patients’ safety.
Patient safety issues may also arise out of self-harming behavior such as attempts at suicide & absconding from daily activities conducted at mental hospitals.
More difficulties arise due to the inconsistency between security procedures and autonomy of resident patients. The guiding principles laid down by mental health care hospitals located in Delhi, which aim at improving prospects of patients’ safety in mental health settings, are often perceived as contentious and immoral because of their effect on patients’ human rights. The measures taken while implementing these guidelines can include locking entities and putting restraints on patients’ activities & behavior, frisking, confiscation of items which are forbidden and the use of CCTV in order to keep a better check on patient activity. More impediments also arise because the emphasis on prevention of physical harm to patients residing at mental hospitals sometimes disregards the psychological trauma endured by these patients.
All of the above mentioned points indicate towards a dire need for an improved understanding of the unique challenges facing mentally ill patients, especially those who are sensitive and more prone to violence. It is important for psychiatrists, psychologists and the paramedical staff at each and every mental health hospital located in Delhi to ensure that the patients residing within the four walls of these mental hospitals not only receive safe and secure care but also in a manner that doesn’t negotiate on their humane poise, it being courteous and considerate of their exclusive requirements.