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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Assessment and management of risk to others

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).





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Patient Safety Expert Guidance Working Group
Professor John Morgan (chair)
Dr Claire Flannigan
Dr Safi Afghan
Dr Daniel Beales
Dr Dallas Brodie
Dr Alys Cole-King
Dr David Hall
Dr Andrew Hill-Smith
Dr Soraya Mayet
Dr Philip McGarry
Mrs Julia Mills
Dr Caryl Morgan
Dr Huw Stone
Dr Dumindu Witharana
Mr Chris Wright