Background: People with acute psychiatric illness may be at risk of coercion into informal admission. A lack of capacity assessment (CA) and provision of adequate information (PAI) for informal patients may constitute a risk of coercive admitting practice, resulting in increased use of the mental health act (MHA) in the days following admission. We developed and tested a proforma to aid in ensuring CA and PAI for informal admissions.
Method: A pilot case-study was conducted in 2015 at a U.K. NHS trust (n = 50), analysing the prevalence of CA & PAI for adult psychiatric inpatient admissions, alongside the prevalence of MHA use in the next 72 h. Case-note audits were completed in 2016 & 2017 (n = 100 each), to assess the impact of the proforma in improving documented CA & PAI, alongside the prevalence of MHA use in the next 72 h. We tested for any demographic associations with CA & PAI using logistic regression.
Results: CA improved from 39% (2015) to 60% (2017). PAI improved from 9% (2015) to 45% (2017). Use of the MHA in the 72 h following admission fell from 32% (2015) to 7% (2017). Most informal admissions detained within 72 h had no record of CA & PAI. People under the age of 26 years were significantly less likely to have documented CA & PAI.
Implications: Use of the proforma was successful in improving CA & PAI in a U.K.
Population: Further improvements could be made. Future research should seek to further examine demographic differences in informal coercion.
Keywords: Capacity; Coercion; Informed consent; Mental health act; Psychiatry.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.