ABSTRACT Aims: To compare the initial attitudes of nurses and other professional groups in a psychiatric hospital towards the legal representation (LR) of involuntary admitted psychiatric patients before District Psychiatric Boards (DPB), and to assess how these attitudes changed after LR had become an everyday routine practice in the hospital. Background: LR of hospitalized psychiatric patients before DPB has been introduced into mental health system worldwide, including Israel. Attitudes of psychiatric staff towards LR and their changes over time are a very important –though unstudied issue. Methods: Thirty seven psychiatric nurses employed in the Tirat Carmel Mental Health Center, Israel and 30 other mental health professionals (comparison group) completed the Attitudes to Legal Representation Questionnaire before LR has been instituted in the Center (November 1, 2006) and one year later. Baseline differences between the groups were tested using one-way ANOVA, and prepost differences in the attitude scores were tested by paired t-tests. Results: Baseline psychiatric nurses attitudes towards LR were significantly more negative than those of the comparison group [F67,3 = 6.87, p < 0.0001], but they significantly improved over the study period (t37 = 2.56, p = 0.015). Conclusion: Yearlong, routine exposure to the LR of involuntarily admitted psychiatric patients may attenuate negative nurse beliefs and attitudes towards LR of such patients at DPB hearings. The more positive attitudes may enhance the nurses’ ability to present information about patients without jeopardizing their human and civil rights, and help patients to attain a greater sense of control over their illness management and satisfaction with the services received.
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nullGrinshpoon, A. , Khawaled, R. , Levy, T. , Rosca, P. and Ponizovsky, A. (2011) Changes in psychiatric nurse attitudes towards legal representation of inpatients at District Psychiatric Board hearings in Israel: a pilot study. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 1, 126-131. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2011.13019.
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