Community psychiatric nurse Ruth White talks about keeping patients on the straight and narrow and the importance of understanding their view of reality in her article featured in Nursing Times.
She writes: “At present, I have a caseload of 15 patients who I see on a regular basis, including ex-murderers, rapists and armed robbers. Caseloads are kept manageable so that we can provide intensive support and close monitoring. My clients would have all originally received a hospital order (Section 37/41) rather than a prison sentence because of mental illness. They remain subject to strict conditions set out prior to their release. This includes where they live and an obligation to remain in regular contact with a community support team that includes a psychiatrist, mental health nurse, social worker and sometimes a psychologist.”
Ruth resides and works in London. Those working with similar populations in the United States can only dream of being able to provide such extensive services for mentall ill offenders.
I’d love to hear from those in the United States who provide community services such as Ruth. If you get the chance to read her article (I encourage you do so) she places emphasis on the importance of having empathetic understanding toward a clients view of reality – as distorted as it may be.