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Training School 2015 – Quality of Life and Needs in a Forensic Psychiatric Context

14 July, 2015 @ 9:00 am - 17 July, 2015 @ 6:00 pm


Training School 2015 will focus on ‘Quality of Life and Needs in a Forensic Psychiatric Context’ 

Rationale: Treatment in forensic psychiatry is focused on improving mental health and reducing the risk of recidivism of mentally disordered offenders. In long-term forensic psychiatric care this focus shifts. Instead of aiming at re-entry into society, treatment is principally aimed at psychiatric and medical care and optimizing quality of life.

In order to offer adequate psychiatric and medical care, the needs of service users residing in long-term term forensic psychiatric care must be addressed. This might be a variety of mental and general health problems, as well as aging and psychosocial functioning. Mentally disordered offenders with an above average length of stay may well require a different type of treatment. For instance, a study on forensic service users over 55 years of age or residing for longer than 10 years, showed high rates of physical illness, mobility impairment, sensory impairment and polypharmacy (Lightbody et al., 2010). Shaw (2002) suggests that long term forensic service users have needs across a variety of domains including quality of life, personality disorder, psychotic symptoms, and alcohol and drug misuse. Furthermore, Shaw found that certain individuals do not benefit from particular interventions and that their needs in those domains remain unmet but that there is progress in other domains e.g. an improved quality of life.

Some authors stress that in a high secure context, with long-term involuntary liberty deprivation, aspects like autonomy, lack of freedom, sense of control, restriction of movement and constraint of sexual relations will negatively influence the quality of life of service users (Coid, 1993; Mercier & King, 1994). Empirical research in this area is scarce and has so far been single-centered, decreasing the generalizability of the findings (Swinton, Carlisle, & Oliver, 2001; Van Nieuwenhuizen, Schene, & Koeter, 2002; Saloppé & Pham, 2006). Besides, the instruments used in these studies to assess quality of life are either based on the norms for the general public or psychiatric service users, ignoring the restrictive context of long-term forensic psychiatric care and its influence on quality of life (Van Nieuwenhuizen & Nijman, 2009; Swinton, Oliver, & Carlisle, 1999; Walker & Gudjohnson, 2000). The conceptualization of quality of life, based on perceptions of service users in long-term forensic psychiatric care, differs from that required for use in general forensic psychiatric studies (Vorstenbosch et al., 2010).

To assess both needs and quality of life two different approaches can be used: 1. a normative approach that considers the clinician as most capable of assessing the service user’s needs/quality of life or 2. a subjective approach that includes the service user’s own perspective and that of their family members or carers. A combination of both approaches facilitates intervention in a tailored manner and constitutes ´best practice´ in long-term forensic psychiatric care.

Aim: This Training School is being organized to draw attention to the importance of the concepts ´needs´ and ´quality of life´ within long-term forensic psychiatric care and to give an incentive to the inclusion of these concepts in future research projects in forensic psychiatry in Europe.  It will include: a) lectures/presentations on needs and quality of life, b) provide training in the use of assessment instruments, c) advice on how to incorporate both concepts in every day practice and d) result in constructive contributions for the COST Action IS1302 (reports and/or publications/networking).

Expected Outcomes: Improved outcomes for service users, due to better met needs and an improved quality of life.

This years training school will take place in Koper, a coastal city in Slovenia, on the 14th till the 17th of July 2015. The program will include a visit to the forensic psychiatric facility in Maribor.

For more details and registration please click here. Also if you´d like to apply for reimbursement, please subscribe here. The eight researchers with the best motivation letters will get reimbursed.

The registration deadline ends at the 25th of June.

In case you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


14 July, 2015 @ 9:00 am
17 July, 2015 @ 6:00 pm
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University of Primorska
Muzejski trg 2
Koper, 6000 Slovenia
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