A replication study of the City nurse intervention: reducing conflict and containment on three acute psychiatric wards

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Bowers, L. ; Flood, C. ; Brennan, G. ; Allan, T. (2008)

Conflict and containment on acute inpatient psychiatric wards pose a threat to patient and staff safety, and it is desirable to minimize the frequency of these events. Research has indicated that certain staff attitudes and behaviours might serve to accomplish this, namely, positive appreciation, emotional regulation and effective structure. A previous test of an intervention based on these principles, on two wards, showed a good outcome. In this study, we tested the same intervention on three further wards. Two ‘City nurses’ were employed to work with three acute wards, assisting with the implementation of changes according to the working model of conflict and containment generation. Evaluation was via before-and-after measures, with parallel data collected from five control wards. While simple before-and-after analysis of the two experimental wards showed significant reductions in conflict and containment, when a comparison with controls was conducted, with control for patient occupancy and clustering of results by ward, no effect of the intervention was found. The results were therefore ambiguous, and neither confirm nor contradict the efficacy of the intervention. A further intervention study may need to be conducted with a larger sample size to achieve adequate statistical power.
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