Psychiatric Patients’ experiences of Involuntary Hospital Admissions & Treatment at the Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital : A qualitative study

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Addis Ababa University


Introduction Involuntary admission of psychiatric patients is practiced throughout the world. As most of the patients lack insight and have problems in communication, few professionals bother to find out how they perceive the activities around them at the time. This paper tries to shed some light on the issue as pertains to the Ethiopian context. Methods Following purposive sampling, Semi-structured interviews were done with 11 patients with severe mental illness at the Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital. The participants were asked to express various aspects of their experiences on their admission, stay at the hospital, and how they retrospectively view the whole process.. The interviews were transcribed word for word and translated. Thematic analysis was carried out to pick out the major issues that emerged in the discussions. Results Nine of the participants were men. Seven participants came from regions outside Addis Ababa, while four lived in Addis Ababa. All of the patients were admitted against their will. Many patients did not understand why they were being taken to the hospital and some even didn’t know they were being taken to the hospital at all. Most were suspicious of the staff although almost all affirmed that they were received well at the hospital. Some said they were not listened to and complained the treatment was not explained to them and they were also not treated as ordinary adults. All participants in retrospect said that their forced admissions were justified. But there were differing views on whether they would like to be treated the same way if they pass through similar health problems in the future. Conclusion & recommendations Psychiatric patients need to be listened to and their concerns taken seriously. That would go a long way in building a good rapport which is essential to any successful patient management. The findings in the study also clearly indicate the need for a mental health legislation in Ethiopia and clear guidelines for the involuntary admission of psychiatric patients.



Involuntary admission of psychiatric patients