Long-stay patients with and without intellectual disability in forensic psychiatric settings: comparison of characteristics and needs
Vollm, Birgit A.
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Background: In recent years, concerns have been raised that too many patient stay for too long in forensic psychiatric services and that this is a particular problem in those with an intellectual disability. Aims: To compare the characteristics, needs, and care pathways of long-stay patients with and without intellectual disability (ID) within forensic psychiatric hospital settings in England. Method: File reviews and questionnaires were completed for all long-stay high secure and a representative sample of medium secure patients in England. Between group analyses comparing patients with and without ID are reported. Results: Of the 401 long-stay patients, the ID and non-ID groups were strikingly similar on many sociodemographic, clinical and forensic variables. The ID group had significantly lower lengths of stay, fewer criminal sections, restriction orders and prison transfers, and higher levels of behavioural incidents and risk assessment scores. Discussion: In spite of similar offence histories and higher risk levels, those with ID appear to be diverted away from the criminal justice system and have shorter lengths of stay. This has implications about the applicability of the Transforming Care programme to this group.