Diakonhjemmet Hospital

The Parliamentary Ombudsman visits all locations where people are deprived of their liberty. As part of this work, the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) has initiated a programme of visits to mental health care institutions. The NPM's first visit to this type of institution was to Diakonhjemmet Hospital.

The NPM visited Diakonhjemmet Hospital from 24 to 27 February 2015. The visit report, which is now ready, is published on the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s website.

During the visits, the NPM conducts private interviews with admitted patients, focusing on persons staying there to receive involuntary psychiatric health care treatment. In addition, the inpatient units are inspected, including medical examination rooms, shielding sections, communal areas, activities rooms, rooms used for electroshock treatments (ECT), and rooms equipped with restraint beds. The focus areas include patient rights, use of force, searches, suicide prevention and the physical conditions.

At Diakonhjemmet, the NPM interviewed patients from both the inpatient units at the Tåsen geriatric psychiatry ward and the Vinderen adult psychiatry ward. It was mainly found that Diakonhjemmet has satisfactory procedures in place and good documentation of decisions. This was also confirmed by interviews with the patients and a review of patient records and use-of-force records.

‘One of our recommendations after the visit is that searches of patients’ belongings should only take place following a formal decision by the person with professional responsibility, and not routinely on admission, as is the current practice. We also recommend that patients and next-of-kin are given an opportunity to talk and receive follow-up after incidents involving the police or after use of force. This should be carried out once the patient is capable of receiving information and it should be logged,’ says Aage Thor Falkanger, the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s National Preventive Mechanism visits all locations where people are deprived of their liberty. So far, it has carried out announced and unannounced visits to police custody facilities, prisons, the police immigration detention facility and certain psychiatric institutions.