Monday, November 16, 2009

Absconding from low-secure units. How often does it happen and what are the risk factors?

Researchers from the South London and Maudsley and Oxleas NHS Trusts in London have been looking into the issue of absconding in a low-secure unit for people with 'challenging' behaviour. They found that over the course of 6 1/2 years 22% of the inpatients absconded from the unit. 84% of the incidents occured while the patients were on unescorted leave. Only one person escaped from the unit and there were no serious incidents. The following factors were associated with an increased risk of absconding:

  • A history of absconding behaviour
  • A history of substance misuse or dependence
  • A history of non-compliance with treatment
  • A history of sexually-inappropriate behaviour
  • A history of bad behaviour in childhood
Beer, M. Dominic ... [et al] - Clinical predictors and patterns of absconding in a low secure challenging behaviour mental health unit Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care December 2009, 5(2), 81-87

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