Recent mental health policy has focused on developing community-based services, but the reality remains that patients experiencing acute episodes of illness are mainly cared for in hospital settings. Acute Mental Health Nursing has been developed as a guide to the core knowledge and skills required for working in inpatient settings.

Integrated Care Pathways: The ‘Acute’ Context
Integrated care pathways: The ‘acute’ context

Demands to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of health care without compromising quality are commonplace. Following decades of mental health policy reform and directives to redress longstanding criticisms of institutional care, acute mental health services still face these same challenges. Professionals in this specialty are fully aware that inpatient psychiatric services have been at the centre of considerable debate: with perceived decline in therapeutic interventions, bed management problems, an absence of evidence-based practice and subsequent concerns over care experiences (Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 1998). Whilst sustained development has been illusive, acute in-patient services are now facing a time for social transformation fully supported by mental health policy (National Inpatient Task Group, ...

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