Risk assessment is crucial for developing risk management plans to prevent or minimize mental health patients' risks that will impede their recovery. Risk assessments and risk management plans should be closely linked. Their content and the extent to which they are linked within one Trust is explored. There is a great deal of variability in the amount and detail of risk information collected by nurses and how this is used to develop risk management plans. Keeping risk assessment information in one place rather than scattered throughout patient records is important for ensuring it can be accessed easily and linked properly to risk management plans. Strengthening the link between risk assessment and management will help ensure interventions and care is tailored to the specific needs of individual patients, thus promoting their safety and well-being. Thorough risk assessment helps in developing risk management plans that minimize risks that can impede mental health patients' recovery. Department of Health policy states that risk assessments and risk management plans should be inextricably linked. This paper examines their content and linkage within one Trust. Four inpatient wards for working age adults (18-65 years) in a large mental health Trust in England were included in the study. Completed risk assessment forms, for all patients in each inpatient ward were examined (n= 43), followed by an examination of notes for the same patients. Semi-structured interviews took place with ward nurses (n= 17). Findings show much variability in the amount and detail of risk information collected by nurses, which may be distributed in several places. Gaps in the risk assessment and risk management process are evident, and a disassociation between risk information and risk management plans is often present. Risk information should have a single location so that it can be easily found and updated. Overall, a more integrated approach to risk assessment and management is required, to help patients receive timely and appropriate interventions that can reduce risks such as suicide or harm to others.
- risk management
- mental health