Substance use amongst inpatients on mental health wards: practical guide for mental health services

Guidance for NHS health boards providing inpatient mental health services on responding to substance use on mental health wards. This should be used in conjunction with existing local guidance for responding to substance use incidents on inpatient wards.

3. Definitions and terminology

Throughout the document the following terms have been used:

“Substance” and “substance use” - these have been used to describe the use of alcohol, non-prescribed and illegal drugs, including Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

“Patient” and “inpatient” - this guidance is concerned with the care of people receiving inpatient assessment and treatment. Research has shown that those who receive care and treatment from secondary care mental health services wish to be known as ‘patients’ (Simmons et al., 2010). Other terms such as ‘service user’ are disliked more than liked, particularly by those who have consulted a health professional. In order to respect those who use our services the term ‘patient’ will therefore be used throughout this document.

“Inpatient care” - this is used to describe a stay on a mental health ward.

Senior Decision Maker” - this is used within this document to describe a Senior Doctor working in Psychiatry from ST4 grade to Consultant Grade.

MDT” - a Multi-Disciplinary Team is one which is comprised of multiple professions (Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, Social Work, Allied Health Professionals, Psychology) as well as informal supports (carers, relatives and friends) and the patients themselves.



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