Training for Person Centered Medicine in a Forensic Hospital

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Esta Susic
Ema Nicea Gruber
Blazenka Guberina Korotaj


The education and training needed for health professionals performing person centered medicine in a prison hospital is presented. The health professionals involved work in the department for forensic psychiatry of a prison hospital and conduct mandatory psychiatric treatment during a person’s prison sentence using a bio-psycho-social model of treatment and rehabilitation. Such health professionals work with mentally ill people having partially diminished capacity who perpetrated criminal activities and were sentenced according to the Croatian Criminal Code or Criminal Procedures Act and the Law for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness. Required professional skills include capabilities to provide person-centered psychiatric treatment aimed at reducing psychopathology, articulating theoretical concepts, therapeutic procedures, health professionals' roles and self-understanding, interpersonal issues, relations between patient/prisoner and health professional, ethical dilemmas, and challenges establishing partnerships. Since each patient is also a person serving a prison sentence, the health professional must also know the legislative framework, work as a civil servant, pass the State service examination and be part of a team with different types of other professionals, particularly social workers, occupational therapists, prison officers, court officers, and state officers. For health professionals to practice person centered medicine in a prison setting is a quite demanding and stressful challenge. It may be the hardest way to practice, but it is the right way to do it.

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