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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2012 Dec;19(10):911-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01871.x. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Attitudes of mental health staff to protected therapeutic time in adult psychiatric wards.

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NHS Highland, Inverness, UK.


Therapeutic time is a relatively new, ward-based intervention whereby psychiatric nurses spend regular, uninterrupted periods of time with patients during which they do not attend to other matters. A questionnaire survey of nursing and medical staff was conducted to assess attitudes to the approach. The majority of staff viewed the approach as being important for promoting patient recovery, reducing risk, improving nurse-patient relationships and enhancing patient satisfaction with care received. Interference with medical activities, lack of staffing resources and variable patient uptake were highlighted as potential problems. More research is required to establish the benefits, drawbacks and nature of therapeutic time. Given the current support for the approach and previous research emphasizing the extent to which patients value protected time to speak to nurses, investment of resources in further exploration and implementation of this approach may lead to significant clinical returns.

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