Original Research

The role of Mental Health Care Act status in dignity-related complaints by psychiatric inpatients: A cross-sectional analytical study

Shonisani Raphalalani, Piet J. Becker, Manfred W. Böhmer, Christa Krüger
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 27 | a1602 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v27i0.1602 | © 2021 Shonisani Raphalalani, Piet J. Becker, Manfred W. Böhmer, Christa Krüger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2020 | Published: 27 May 2021

About the author(s)

Shonisani Raphalalani, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Piet J. Becker, Department of Research Office, Faculty of Health Sciences, Pretoria University, Pretoria, South Africa
Manfred W. Böhmer, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Christa Krüger, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Background: Globally interest has grown in promoting the rights of patients, especially psychiatric patients. Two core elements of patients’ rights are the rights to be treated in a dignified manner and to give feedback about services. Psychiatric patients may feel treated in an undignified manner, especially during involuntary hospital admissions.

Aim: We explored the relationship between Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002 (MHCA) status and dignity-related complaints.

Setting: The study was conducted at a specialist state psychiatric hospital.

Methods: We reviewed 120 registered complaints by psychiatric inpatients, retrieved the clinical files, and analysed 70 complaints. Fisher’s exact tests described the relationship between patients’ MHCA status and the frequency of dignity-related or other categories of complaints. Logistic regression analyses were adjusted for potential covariates.

Results: Most complaints were from single, literate male patients, aged 30–39 years, with mood disorders. Most complainants were admitted involuntarily (60%). Dignity-related complaints (n = 41; 58%) outnumbered nondignity-related complaints (n = 29; 41%). The proportion of dignity-related complaints was higher in involuntary (64%) and assisted (60%) patients than in voluntary patients (44%). Dignity-related complaints were not significantly associated with MHCA status (χ2 = 2.03 and p = 0.36). Involuntary patients were more than twice as likely as assisted and voluntary patients to complain about dignity-related matters (Odds ratio [OR]: 2.25; 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.71; 7.13]; p = 0.16).

Conclusion: Involuntary patients are more likely to complain about dignity-related matters. Qualitative research is recommended for a deeper understanding of patients’ experiences during admission.


Keywords

legal status; patients’ rights; dignity; psychiatric admissions; dignity-related complaints; Mental Health Care Act

Metrics

Total abstract views: 662
Total article views: 532


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.