Protocol for a Systematic Review of Patient Safety in Mental Health Published

by Beth Thibaut

Despite the growing international interest in patient safety as a discipline, there has been a lack of exploration of its application to mental health. It cannot be assumed that findings based upon physical health in acute care hospitals can be applied to mental health patients, disorders and settings.

A team of researchers within the Imperial College Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) recently published a systematic review protocol (D’Lima, D., Archer, S., Thibaut, B. I., Ramtale, S. C., Dewa, L. H., & Darzi, A. (2016). A systematic review of patient safety in mental health: a protocol based on the inpatient setting. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 203).

 To our knowledge, there has only been one review of the literature that focuses on patient safety research in mental health settings, conducted in Canada in 2008. We have identified a need to update this review and develop the methodology in order to strengthen the findings and disseminate internationally for advancement in the field. This systematic review will explore the existing research base on patient safety in mental health within the inpatient setting.

To conduct this systematic review, a thorough search across multiple databases has been undertaken, based upon four search facets (“mental health”, “patient safety”, “research” and “inpatient setting”). The search strategy has been developed based upon the Canadian review, accompanied with input from the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) taxonomy of patient safety incidents and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition). The search returned more than 37,000 articles, which have been screened against inclusion and exclusion criteria. These criteria focus the search on articles which report patient safety outcomes, are conducted within a mental health inpatient setting, and make use of primary data. The process involved perspectives from at least two researchers in the team at all stages, with a third researcher invited to review when discrepancies required resolution.

The team are currently at the stage of reviewing over 4,000 full-text articles for inclusion. Quality assessment and data extraction of included articles will then be conducted by at least two researchers from the team. Extracted information will be analysed thematically and synthesised.

We aim to use the findings of this review to develop the future programme of work within mental health at the PSTRC. We believe that this systematic review will make a significant contribution to the wider advancement of patient safety in mental health inpatient settings by enabling the development and implementation of interventions to improve the quality of care experienced by patients and supporting the identification of future research priorities.

You can find the full article here.

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