Smoke-free psychiatric hospitals and the role of aggression: a systematic review
aim To provide an overview of the literature on transitions towards smoke-free psychiatric hospitals and the risk of aggression.
method A systematic search was made in medline, Embase and Psycinfo. Studies were included if they reported data on: a smoke-free intervention in a psychiatric hospital or ward, the number of aggressive incidents, and seclusions or prn drugs.
results A total of 17 studies matched the inclusion/exclusion criteria; 5 reported a decrease in the number of aggressive incidents after implementation of a smoke-free ward, 7 showed an increase in the number of incidents, and 5 studies reported no differences. Heterogeneity between the studies was high with respect to the definition and implementation of the intervention, the definition and measurement of aggression, study design, length of follow-up, and the sample size.
conclusion These findings suggest that, after changing the policy towards a smoke-free psychiatric hospital, the risk of aggression is limited. However, several precautions related to the preparation and implementation of this transition seem to be essential. The results support further investment in the implementation of smoke-free psychiatric hospitals in the Netherlands, while maintaining safety.