The lived experiences of fire fighters in facing of involuntary psychiatric treatment in Taiwan

Mrs. Yu-ting Wang1, Director Hui-Chen Hsu2, Doctor Cheng-Han Tsai2, Dr. Rei-Mei  Hong3

1Chiayi Branch,Taichung Veterans General Hospital、Chang Gung University Of Science And Technology Graduate Institute , Chiayi City, Taiwan, 2Chiayi Branch,Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Chiayi City, Taiwan, 3Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Chiayi County, Taiwan

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2016, the number of mental illnesses in Taiwan is 1.5 times higher than that in 2007. Fire fighters in Taiwan not only need to extinguish the blaze, but also require helping the involuntary psychiatric treatment. Urgent psychiatric patients use involuntary psychiatric treatment to Emergency Department which happens generally at night. The fire fighters usually are the one, who send them to hospitals. Sometimes, after the fire fighters assess these suspicious psychiatric patients, they find no needs to send them to the hospitals. The family members of the patients may argue with the fire fighters and cause troubles in complain or irrational legal proceedings, resulting in the gap between the mental health system and the actual social events.

The study explored the experiences of fire fighters in facing of involuntary psychiatric treatment. A phenomenological approach was the theoretical framework. The purposive sampling was used as the data collection. One face-to-face audio-taped in-depth interviews were held to explore the lived Experiences of Fire Fighters in Facing of Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment from three Southern-Fire Brigades in Taiwan. Seven fire fighters were selected until the data was saturation.The results show that three major themes were identified from Colaizzi’s analysis method: (1) the gap between regulations and reality, (2) the fear caused by uncertainty, (3) the feeling of powerlessness and adjustment.

Through the discussion of this study, the fire fighters who assist in the implementation of involuntary psychiatric treatment were thought-provoking, paying attention to the feelings and emotions of the self. It is recommended to first join the mental patient treatment courses from the continuing education of fire fighters, and integrate the topics such as on-site simulation scenarios and regulations, so that fire fighters have different visions and processing modes in the cultivation education, which helps to adapt to the scene.


The researcher has been working in nursing for more than 20 years. I transferred to the Emergency Room and started to have contact to involuntary psychiatric treatment in 2013. Through the implementation of the triage and nursing care, I found that Public health nurses and police officers have different standards for implementing involuntary psychiatric treatment. I enter the Institute of Nursing at Chang Gung University of Science and Technology to learn the methodology of qualitative research in 2016. It is expected to understand the psychological distress and the needs from fire fighters in facing psychiatric Emergency treatment. The findings of this study will have the potential to make significant contributions to extant knowledge for future Emergency care in establishing Psychiatric Emergency mental care standards or education training courses to improve the quality of Emergency mental health care.

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