The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2005) published guidance on the management of disturbed behaviour in mental health settings and emergency departments. The guidance included some of the recommendations made in the Independent Inquiry into the death of David Bennett (2003). One important recommendation requires that staff implementing physical interventions (restraint) and/or parenteral rapid tranquilisation are able to effectively manage the physical health of the patient including any immediate complications that may arise.
This article provides background and a syllabus for training for staff to be able to meet the physical assessment skills and interventions required by recent UK national guidance. Also reported is the creation, role and deployment of a 24-hour Medical Emergency Response Team in an in-patient mental health setting to ensure responses to both medical and psychiatric emergencies offer improved safety and adhere to the new guidance. The article describes the provision of a person with the sole responsibility monitoring a patients physical safety during restriant, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.
The article will be of interest to those working in in-patient mental health and learning disability services, especially those where they are not served by a resuscitation team as part of a District General Hospital and where there is no resident Duty Medical Officer.