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Home > Best practice principles for risk assessment and safety planning for nurses working in mental health services.

Higgins, A and Morrissey, J and Doyle, L and Bailey, J and Gill, A (2015) Best practice principles for risk assessment and safety planning for nurses working in mental health services. Dublin: Health Service Executive.

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The clinical role and responsibilities of the nurse has developed significantly to meet the changing nature and context of mental health care. Risk assessment and safety planning constitutes a significant component of the role of every nurse working in a recovery focused way in contemporary services and is particularly significant for those working in specialist and advanced practice roles in areas such as Liaison, Self Harm, Suicide Crisis Assessment and Community Mental Health. These principles are a resource for all nurses and provide a benchmark for the delivery of care.

This document and these principles relate to the specific area of risk assessment and safety planning of an individual’s care. It is internationally accepted that risk and safety planning is an integral part of a standardised, comprehensive mental health bio psychosocial assessment of care which every individual will have when accessing mental health services. However, the profession requires a more in-depth knowledge and expertise in the area of risk assessment and safety planning. How risk is defined, classified and responded to needs to be evidence-based and consistent across all clinical settings and locations where care is being delivered nationally.


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