Are patients with severe depression traumatized by admission to an aged psychiatry ward?

Penelope Anne Pollitt, Daniel William O'Connor

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Research on young psychiatric patients suggests that a significant proportion experience trauma and, in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of hospitalization. This paper focuses on the evidence of trauma and PTSD associated with admission to an aged psychiatry ward. Methods: Fifty former patients from three Melbourne hospitals were interviewed in their own homes, using a semi-structured, open-ended questionnaire. Results: Thirty-four percent of participants reported having felt frightened, unsafe, powerless, and undermined at some time during their hospital stay. In 24 of cases these experiences could be described as traumatic. None met criteria for PTSD. Conclusion: Most of the distressing experiences reported had been re-evaluated in the light of recovery or the passage of time. Nevertheless, finding ways to reduce the occurrence of such potentially traumatic experiences is clearly desirable. The evidence from this study suggests that providing opportunities for patients with depression to spend time apart from disturbed and disruptive patients would be helpful in this regard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115 - 123
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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