Original Research

Psychiatric nurses’ experiences after the closure of Life Esidimeni psychiatric care centres

Annie Temane, Maide Manamela, Marie Poggenpoel
Curationis | Vol 45, No 1 | a2332 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v45i1.2332 | © 2022 Annie Temane, Maide Manamela, Marie Poggenpoel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 April 2022 | Published: 02 December 2022

About the author(s)

Annie Temane, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Maide Manamela, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: A national tragedy occurred between October 2015 and June 2016 when psychiatric patients with profound intellectual disabilities were transferred from psychiatric care centres to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The process of transferring psychiatric patients had severe consequences for psychiatric patients and psychiatric nurses.

Objectives: The study’s objective was to explore and describe psychiatric nurses’ experiences after the closure of Life Esidimeni psychiatric care centres.

Method: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design was employed. Semi-structured interviews were utilised to collect data. Purposive sampling was utilised to select eight psychiatric nurses to participate in the study. Data were analysed using Tesch’s thematic method of coding.

Results: The analysis of data revealed the following themes: With the closure of the care centres participants experienced (1) shock, dismay and life interruption; (2) trauma related to the disintegration, of psychiatric patients’ lives, their own families and work-life and (3) sense of resilience.

Conclusion: From the findings, it is clear that the psychiatric nurses needed support as evidenced by the challenges they experienced. The healthcare professionals in mental health and mental health nursing post-graduate students could conduct further research focusing on the experiences and the impact that the closure of Life Esidimeni psychiatric care centres have on the psychiatric nurses’ mental health.

Contribution: This study contributes to the body of knowledge in psychiatric nursing by highlighting the impact of hospital closure on psychiatric nurses.


Keywords

psychiatric nurses; closure; mental health care users; experience; Life Esidimeni care centres

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