Assessing risk: Tips for psychiatrists
- Find out all you can to be prepared for the assessment.
- Consider whether you and your colleagues are safe.
- Be curious and look beyond face value.
- Explore the meaning behind symptoms and unusual statements.
- Explore implications of the patient’s emotions and beliefs.
- Think about what you don’t know.
- Consider the unpredictability of an evolving disorder or new presentation.
- Where there is a substance or alcohol misuse problem, always enquire about violence, especially domestic violence.
- Look for patterns and escalations.
- Don’t be frightened to discuss your thoughts with colleagues.
- Be aware that interventions have the potential to increase risk, despite good intentions.
- Learn to formulate risk.
- Practice clarity of both written and verbal communication.
- Know your local information-sharing agreements.
- Evidence your learning via workplace-based assessments (case-based discussions, assessed clinical encounters, and mini assessed clinical encounters).