Psychogeriatric Care in a Forensic Setting

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Monica Ginn Forsyth


Background and Objective: With an aging population, it has become increasingly important that nurses are equipped to provide appropriate psychogeriatric care.  Patients with dementia are more likely of committing legal violations related to their behavioural and psychosocial symptoms.  Thus, it is imperative that we explore how nursing staff can effectively manage psychogeriatric care in a forensic setting, in order to minimize stress and burnout of staff. 

Material and Methods: Three populations were explored with the context of dementia and the justice system: patients with dementia who enter the forensic system, aging inmates in corrections, and criminal offenders in long-term residential care.  The literature suggests that there is a dilemma as to where this population is best managed as there are no appropriate designated psychiatric facilities for the elderly offenders.  Four options for geriatric service enhancement will be explored:  Provide Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) training to forensic staff; modification of existing policies and procedures to support appropriate geriatric care; implement the use of Psychiatric Care Aides in skill mix; and create a secure forensic unit for geriatric populations.

Results: The recommendation for action is to implement education specific to psychogeriatric care, while also adjusting policies and procedures for a forensic centre to support therapeutic care. 

Conclusions: The author argues that further research is needed that will determine the design of a new Psychogeriatric Forensic Centre.



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