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Housing Preferences of Irish Forensic Mental Health Service Users on Moving into the Community

Sweeney, Patricia B Soc Sc, MSW, MSc Mental Health, NQSW, MII; Rani Shetty, Shobha PhD, MSc Mental Health Nursing, M.A. Psychology, HDip Nsg Ed, Cert. Forensic Nursing RGN, RPN, RNT

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0b013e31829e92f7
Original Articles

ABSTRACT Housing is one of the important services required by forensic mental health service users on reintegration into the community. In the Republic of Ireland, a recent amendment to Section 13 of the Criminal Law Insanity Act (2006) has given the prospect of conditional discharge, which has increased the need for housing among Irish forensic mental health service users. This article reports findings of a qualitative descriptive study aimed to explore the housing preferences of these service users. While identifying and capturing their views, the study also identified the strengths and weaknesses of current housing services from a service user perspective. Data were collected from nine service users using semistructured interviews. Colaizzi’s (1978) approach was used to analyze the data. Three themes that emerged from the analysis are as follows: (a) living choices; (b) future considerations; and (c) service users’ expectations. Although concerns were raised regarding legislation and policy, service users strongly preferred normal independent living and recommended continued community support, gradual discharge, and community hostels. Findings suggest that service users’ expectations may be fulfilled with effective collaboration between forensic mental health service and housing services. This is the first study to be carried out in Ireland that adds a new dimension to the literature on housing policy and service users’ perspectives.

Author Affiliations: 1Dublin City Council; 2National Forensic Mental Health Service Ireland.

The authors have disclosed no conflict of interest.

Shobha Rani Shetty, PhD, MSc Mental Health Nursing, M.A. Psychology, HDip Nsg Ed, Cert. Forensic Nursing RGN, RP.N, RNT, National Forensic Mental Health Service Ireland, Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, Dublin-14. E-mail:

Received March 20, 2013; Accepted for publication May 31, 2013.

© 2013 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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