Staff at various forensic psychiatric institutions should assess each other’s individual treatment programmes every year.
TBS (treatment under a hospital order) programmes are only checked once every six years.
A second opinion would improve the quality of the treatment and prevent stagnation.
Prof. Ko Hummelen, professor by special appointment in forensic psychiatry at the University of Groningen, states this in his inaugural lecture: ‘Over grenzen en open windows’ (Crossing boundaries and open windows).
‘External assessment by peers could in time lead to patients cooperating more in their treatment’, thinks Hummelen.
According to Hummelen, patients would be more willing to change their behaviour if how they experience the treatment was taken into account.
‘A second opinion implies that the patient is taken seriously and takes account of his or her perception of the treatment’, says Hummelen.
‘In addition, the patient can introduce a second opinion in the court case about extending the treatment.’
A judge could allow the results of the second opinion to contribute to the judgement.
Hummelen states that the psychiatrists/care professionals ‘should keep each other up to scratch’ because the ‘nature of the work in a forensic institution leads to a certain degree of internal orientation’.
In a forensic institution, patients are further removed from society than in regular psychiatry because they are undergoing compulsory treatment and that for a longer period of time.
‘There is a great deal of attention paid to the patient in the clinic, but it is less clear what will happen outside once the treatment has finished’, thinks Hummelen.
‘Ask each other a number of questions, for example
is the treatment directed towards a return to society and prevention of recidivism?
How concrete are these plans?’
Hummelen wants professionals in the field to become aware of their own view of treatments and of differing views.
He is not a proponent of formalizing the second opinion.
‘What I’m interested in is the discussion.
Quality improvement is not achieved by imposing compulsory checks.’
Prof. J.W. (Ko) Hummelen (1954) became professor by special appointment in forensic psychiatry at the University of Groningen in August 2009.
His research mainly concentrates on the treatment of impulse registration disorders.
Hummelen also works as a psychiatrist at the Forensic Psychiatric Unit De Boog (GGNet) in Warnsveld.
Hummelen will give his inaugural lecture on Tuesday 8 February.
The title is ‘Over grenzen en open vensters’ [Crossing boundaries and open windows].
Time: 4.15 p.m. in the Academy Building (Broerstraat 5).
0575-580843 (secretariat De Boog), e-mail:
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