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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2007 Sep;14(6):578-86.

The subjective experiences of people who regularly receive depot neuroleptic medication in the community.

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Department of Mental Health and Learning Disability, City University Institute of Health Sciences, St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery, London, UK.


Little has been written on the subjective experiences of people who receive depot injections in the community. The authors of this paper have identified distinct gaps in the literature in terms of the views of service users regarding this particular intervention. Existing studies tend to focus upon the side effects of depot neuroleptic medication and the attitudes of Community Mental Health Nurses (CMHNs) towards administering depot medication and issues of compliance and non-compliance. Mental health nurses are frequently perceived as adhering solely to a biomedical approach to patient care in their practice and the therapeutic aspects of their role is frequently unacknowledged. This paper explores how, within the process of giving a depot injection, CMHNs are able to carry out an assessment of their client's needs as well as being someone who is consistent, reliable and supportive. This means that the process of giving a depot injection may be considered as a therapeutic intervention. Qualitative data were obtained through the administration of a semi-structured interview schedule that was constructed and consisted of a range of questions that elicited service users views and opinions related to their experiences of receiving depot neuroleptic medication in the community. The relationship between patient and nurse, as this study reveals, was one that was not only therapeutic, but also provided a forum where psychosocial and clinical issues could be discussed and explored. Crucially, the service users felt they did have a role and an influence in the delivery of their care.

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