Psychiatric patients: Belgium “could do better”

The High Council for Health says that Belgium can do better when it comes to the treatment of psychiatric patients. The Council says that forced admissions should only be used as a last resort. Since 1999, the number of forced admissions to psychiatric wards in Belgium has risen sharply.

The High Council for Health says that there are currently an average of 15 forced admissions day. This constitutes 6% of the total number of admissions to the psychiatric wards of general and specialised hospitals and 10.4% of the admissions in psychiatric hospitals.

Furthermore, in Belgium a number of forced treatments are carried out simultaneously. For example the isolation and immobilisation of a patient.

The psychiatrist Chris Bervoets told VRT news that forced treatment can be prevented. Dr Bervoets went on to give a few guidelines. “Simple rules such as introducing one’s self properly, saying what your job is on the ward you work, what the aim of the conversation is always be open with the patients”.

"Wards that follow these rules encounter far fewer conflict situations and fewer forced treatments that other psychiatric wards”.