Transport av psykiatriske pasienter: En kvalitativ studie av pårørendes opplevelse av psykiatrisk ambulanse i Bergen og omegn
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Background: The debate has focused on whether health personnel rather than police should do the transportation of psychiatric patients. As the first health institution in Norway, the university hospital of Bergen started the first psychiatric ambulance (PA) in may 2005. PA’s purpose isto transport psychiatric patients from their home to the mental hospital. In the beginning the vehicle transformed from a civil vehicle to a somatic ambulance with the necessary equipment like a first responder vehicle. As the health personnel experience that the new transformation created less stigmatization, it was also easier for health personnel to access valuable information regarding patients from their relatives, neighbors, and children. The availability of the service stretches only from 09.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. on weekdays, and is therefore closed during nights, weekends and national holidays. As from the 1th of January 2010 the university hospital of Stavanger has established psychiatric ambulance inspired from the model in Bergen. Aim: The aim of this study is to identify aspects of relative’s personal experiences with creation of a new psychiatric transportation offer in Norway. Special emphasis will be on different dimensions such as stigma, the use of uniform, the availability of the service and the relatives’ wishes for what can improve this service. Method: The study applied a qualitative approach which created a sample size consisting of eight relatives to psychiatric patients. The technique that was used was semi-structured interviews that were tape recorded and transcribed. The analysis was inspired by Giorgis psychological phenomenological method and modified by the researcher. Findings: Findings suggest that even if stigmatization of psychiatric patients and their relatives still is happening today, this use of a psychiatric ambulance might reduce this. Even if most informants supported the use of uniform, some would prefer the use of civil clothing. All the informants wanted stronger availability of the service. However one informant seemed not to see the urge for a service available throughout the entire day. This aspect might be interesting to study in a further investigation. Conclusions: This special transportation seems like an adequate service provided to psychiatric patients.However since this service was initially welcomed by a group of relatives to psychiatric patients, there were no negative experiences with the service to be found from the informantsin this study. A further investigation is needed in order to explore eventual negative dimensions considering the use of the psychiatric ambulance.