Managing Sexual Behavior on Adult Acute Care Inpatient Psychiatric Units

by Elizabeth Ford, Michele Rosenberg, Margarita Holsten, Tyson Boudreaux
Psychiatric Services ()
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Protecting and safeguarding persons with impaired decisional capacity are among the critical functions of a psychiatric hospital. The objective of this study was to investigate the elements of these functions as they relate to sexual behavior on an adult acute care inpatient psychiatric unit and to develop a policy to prevent or at least manage such behavior. METHODS: The authors undertook an extensive literature review of articles and legal cases. The review was presented at numerous meetings of staff and interdisciplinary teams on the adult teaching unit at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. The findings from the review and the results of staff discussions were used in creating the policy. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In the acute care setting, it may be both reasonable and prudent to prevent all sexual interactions between patients, especially given the potential risks of such behavior. Concerns include the transmission of sexually transmitted disease, reproductive issues, and the legal implica...

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