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Open Access Highly Accessed Primary research

Attitude of health workers to the care of psychiatric patients

Aghukwa Nkereuwem Chikaodiri

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Annals of General Psychiatry 2009, 8:19  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-8-19

Published: 23 August 2009

Abstract

Background

In a few months from the time of this report, wards for inpatient care of psychiatric patients at the Bayero University Medical School Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital will be ready for admissions. The attitude of staff to the care of such patients within the hospital was the focus of this study.

Methods

The investigation was a descriptive and cross-sectional study on a stratified and randomly selected sample population of workers at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. A questionnaire was used to elicit responses from the respondents, containing 11 modified items. Statistical analysis of responses was performed.

Results

The number of properly completed questionnaires analysed was 362. The result showed that 232 (64.1%) respondents would be fearful of having psychiatric patients admitted within the hospital. In all, 192 (53.0%) would not want their place of work to be next door to the psychiatric wards. Gender showed a significant association with responses on many of the questionnaire items (P < 0.05), with more females than males expressing unfavourable attitudes. Profession of the respondents was significantly related to both not wanting ones place of work to be next door to the psychiatric wards and having good reason to resist the location of psychiatric wards within the hospital (P < 0.05).

Conclusion

Health workers expressed fears about treating psychiatric patients within a general hospital environment and preferred segregation of the wards and the patients if treated within such a setting. Expansive enlightenment programmes and positive contacts with psychiatric patients during treatment could help reduce stigma to mental illness by health workers.