Objective: Inpatient psychiatric care of adolescents should, where possible, be provided in specialized units. However, admission of adolescent patients to adult mental health units does occur. There is a paucity of data about this practice. This study collates information about the experience, attitudes and knowledge of clinical staff regarding the care of adolescent patients in adult psychiatry units within Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service (NSCCHS). Method: A survey was emailed to all clinical staff with employer accessible email addresses in NSCCHS. Results: The response rate was 29% (n = 108). The majority of respondents believed their wards were "not at all" (30.7%) or "only a little" (57.4%) equipped to care for adolescent patients. The majority felt "moderately" (39.6%) or "very" (16.8%) confident to care for these patients; however, a significant proportion (43.2%) lacked confidence. There was no significant difference across the responses of psychiatrists, psychiatry registrars and nursing staff to these questions. The majority felt the objectives of these admissions were met "only a little" (47.4%) or "not at all" (16.5%). Many concerns regarding the admission of adolescents to adult wards were reported. Conclusions: Generally, staff were not in favour of admitting adolescent patients to adult mental health units apart from in exceptional circumstances. Staff harboured concerns about several aspects of care for adolescents in adult wards.
- adult inpatient units