7 March 2012
Research explores experiences of psychiatric patients
The experiences of five patients within a New Zealand regional forensic psychiatric service have formed the basis of the
Master’s thesis of Otago Polytechnic occupational therapy lecturer and programme coordinator (postgraduate), Penelope
Her study explored the transition from a secure unit to an open rehabilitation ward.
“I became drawn to this research from my previous experience working at a secure unit within a forensic service. I
helped determine transition plans for the patients and I became aware there was minimal literature I could draw on to
help guide these patients,” she says.
Moving to a less secure environment asks a lot of patients. They need to be able to place limitations on themselves,
initiate involvement in a range of ward and community activities, and make choices they have not had to make for a long
“Individuals who require further rehabilitation within a forensic psychiatric service are still deemed likely to pose a
significant risk to the community and require close monitoring,” explains Penelope. “For this reason, transitions must
be successful to ensure patients are neither a risk to society or to themselves. Understanding the experience of
transition from the person’s perspective will enable health professionals to develop individual plans for each of their
Penelope will be presenting her thesis at Otago Polytechnic tomorrow, Thursday 8 March. Media are welcome to attend.
Exploring connectedness: The meaning of transition experiences for people within a forensic psychiatric service
When: 3.00pm, Thursday 8 May
Room G315, G Block
Union Street East