One Working with vulnerable, homeless people
Mental health professionals in the North East LPA were working with a homeless person who refused to give their name or any other details. The patient was extremely vulnerable, living a chaotic lifestyle whilst profoundly mentally ill. The triage team assessed the patient and agreed detention was the only option; it transpired he had been missing from the family home in the north of the UK for over a year. His family had given him up for dead. The patient returned to his local area and is now receiving the specialist help he needs.
one was extremely large and aggressive, spitting blood; he could not be calmed or negotiated with
one had jumped from a bridge onto the muddy banks of a river before being detained and violent
one was so aggressive and determined to self-harm; after two critical incidents in a hospital ward he had to be taken to police custody
the fourth had tried to jump from a moving vehicle on to the motorway; he assaulted a police officer when he responded to a call to help nursing staff regain control
Mitigating the risk of suicide
A father rang Police after his 20 year old daughter went missing; she had taken an overdose and refused to speak to him or the police. As the medication began to affect her she became disorientated and would not disclose where she was.
The Police treated her as a High Risk missing person but could not locate her despite using all the resources available to them.
A Control Room Triage nurse called the patient and spent over an hour developing a rapport with her and winning her trust. After lengthy negotiation, the nurse identified her location and arranged for her to receive appropriate emergency care. She encouraged her to be frank about the true nature of her illness with Emergency department staff.
The patient received the support she needed; she is in recovery, receiving longer-term care, and wrote to the nurse thanking her for saving her life.
The frontline perspective
The partner of a woman in mental health crisis called the police, She was self-harming and he felt she needed to be restrained but he was panicking and did not know how to help her.
When they arrived officers found the patient in distress and threatening to commit suicide. She refused to accept any offers of help and they had no legal powers to restrain her.
Enquiries with the Control Room Triage team soon identified a regular pattern of behaviour as a means of securing care and attention from agencies and officials.
This information helped officers to appropriately challenge the patient and encourage her to take part in a community based treatment plan.