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Factors impacting perceived safety among staff working on mental health wards

Haines, A and Brown, A and McCabe, R and Rogerson, M and Whittington, R (2017) Factors impacting perceived safety among staff working on mental health wards. British Journal of Psychiatry Open, 3 (5). pp. 204-211. ISSN 2056-4724

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Abstract

Background Safety at work is a core issue for mental health staff working on in-patient units. At present, there is a limited theoretical base regarding which factors may affect staff perceptions of safety. Aims This study attempted to identify which factors affect perceived staff safety working on in-patient mental health wards. Method A cross-sectional design was employed across 101 forensic and non-forensic mental health wards, over seven National Health Service trusts nationally. Measures included an online staff survey, Ward Features Checklist and recorded incident data. Data were analysed using categorical principal components analysis and ordinal regression. Results Perceptions of staff safety were increased by ward brightness, higher number of patient beds, lower staff to patient ratios, less dayroom space and more urban views. Conclusions The findings from this study do not represent common-sense assumptions. Results are discussed in the context of the literature and may have implications for current initiatives aimed at managing in-patient violence and aggression.

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