Psychiatric intensive care

Dr Aileen O'Brien, Dr Faisil Sethi and Dr Stephen Pereira. Last updated Dr Hamid Alhaj

60 minutes


May 2020

CPD learning module

CPD domain:

Psychiatric intensive care.jpg

A psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) is a hospital ward dedicated to the short-term management of people in an acutely disturbed phase of a serious mental disorder who cannot be safely managed in a general psychiatric ward.

Core features include a high staff to patient ratio and a secure physical environment. Patients are usually detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (Amended) and are often admitted because of the risk of aggression.

By the end of the module you should have a deeper understanding of:

  • the psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU)
  • the common clinical and demographic features of PICU patients
  • what makes a PICU different from other wards
  • best practice in clinical management in the PICU.

The module will focus on legislations and policies pertaining to England and Wales. Clinicians from other jurisdictions should refer to their appropriate legislative framework.


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