PURPOSE: To determine what is known from the literature about nursing care of
psychiatric patients with a history of child maltreatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Psychiatric nurses underline the importance of a routine inquiry
of child abuse on admission of patients to psychiatric care, but are reluctant to ask
about child abuse. They often feel insufficiently competent to respond effectively to
patients with a history of child maltreatment.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Psychiatric nurses need training in how to assess a
history of child abuse and the late-life consequences of abuse in adult psychiatric
patients. They also need to be trained to respond effectively to these patients.