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, 19 (6), 755-65

Analysis of Accident and Emergency Doctors' Responses to Treating People Who Self-Harm

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Analysis of Accident and Emergency Doctors' Responses to Treating People Who Self-Harm

Jo Hadfield et al. Qual Health Res.

Abstract

Self-harm is a prevalent phenomenon regularly faced by doctors and nurses working in accident and emergency (A&E) departments. We argue that the treatment decisions A&E doctors make are fundamental to decreasing the high risk of suicide among this group. In this article we present a qualitative study exploring how doctors working in A&E respond to treating people who self-harm. In total, five A&E doctors were interviewed and the data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three main themes were extracted: treating the body, silencing the self, and mirroring cultural and societal responses to self-harm. Within these themes, we identified both facilitative and unhelpful aspects of the relationships between people who self-harm and A&E doctors. We consider the clinical implications of these findings within the context of A&E doctors having limited opportunities to address the relational nature of the care they offer to this group.

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