Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing - Organization of Mental Health Care

Organization of Mental Health Care

Psychiatric mental health nurses work in a variety of hospital and community settings.

People generally require an admission to hospital, voluntarily or involuntarily if they are experiencing a crisis- that means they are dangerous to themselves or others in some immediate way. However, people may gain admission for a concentrated period of therapy or for respite. Despite changes in mental health policy in many countries that have closed psychiatric hospitals, many nurses continue work in hospitals though patient length of stay has decreased significantly.

Community Nurses who specialize in mental health work with people in their own homes (case management) and will often emphasize work on mental health promotion. Psychiatric mental health nurses also work in rehabilitation settings where people are recovering from a crisis episode and the where the aim is social inclusion and a return to living independently in society. These nurses are sometimes referred to as community psychiatric nurses (the term psychiatric has been retained, but is being gradually replaced with the title "Community Mental Health Nurse" or CMHN)).

Psychiatric mental health nurses also work in forensic psychiatry with people who have mental health problems and have committed crimes. Forensic mental health nurses work in adult prisons, young offenders' institutions, medium secure hospitals and high secure hospitals. In addition forensic mental health nurses work with people in the community who have been released from prison or hospital and require on-going mental health service support.

People in the older age groups who are more prone to dementia tend to be cared for apart from younger adults. Admiral Nurses are specialist dementia nurses, working in the community, with families, carers and supporters of people with dementia. The Admiral Nurse model was established as a direct result of the experiences of family carers. The Admiral nurse role is to work with family carers as their prime focus, provide practical advice, emotional support, information and skills, deliver education and training in dementia care, provide consultancy to professionals working with people with dementia and promote best practice in person- centred dementia care.

Psychiatric mental health nurses may also specialize in areas such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation, or child and adolescent mental health.

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