Article

Preventing the Unpredicted: Managing Violence Risk in Mental Health Care

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, DUMC 3071, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 1.99). 03/2008; 59(2):191-3. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.59.2.191
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Using clinical judgment alone, mental health professionals cannot predict individual patient violence much more accurately than chance. Clinicians could improve their prediction of violence if they routinely used structured risk assessment instruments, but they don't; the use of such tools for screening is not currently the standard of care in the United States and is not commonly reimbursed by insurance. The author argues, however, that clinicians actually can predict and prevent violence if they consider their patients as a group from the perspective of public-health epidemiology. Optimizing treatment for all patients will help prevent violence by the few who pose a risk of violence, even when such patients are not identified in advance.

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    • "Workers show that while they are aware of the intrusive nature of their monitoring they remained convinced that this was the best way of managing potential risk behaviours and avoiding blame. The belief that this intensive supervision provides sufficient leverage over individuals to reduce risk behaviours in the absence of attention to social and structural factors may however prove unfounded (Swanson, 2008). "
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