Informed gender practice: mental health acute care that works for women

WILLIAMS Jennie, PAUL Jenifer
National Institute for Mental Health in England
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This best practice guidance is intended to support improvement in acute inpatient care for women. It progresses implementation of the women’s mental strategy and complements generic health and mental health guidance. This guidance describes why and in what way women’s needs are different from men’s and how this affects their experiences on the ward, acknowledging the diversity of women who will become inpatients. The needs of men are not specifically addressed, although the need for informed gender practice for men is acknowledged and there is transferability in many of the points made. It encourages all staff to take an approach which promotes understanding of the woman’s journey. It considers the gender informed service principles of equality, knowledge and commitment, and relationships, and gender informed service provision such as safety, and ward based practice. It also considers the structure and culture of services which will help establish a gender informed system. This guidance is aimed at multi-disciplinary teams who work with inpatients, their managers and commissioners of acute inpatient services. It should also be of value to community based staff, to women with experience of using acute care and to user groups that advocate for their interests.

Subject terms:
mental health care, staff-user relationships, women, acute psychiatric care, gender, health needs;
Content type:
practice guidance
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