User Interviews User – “I fear I will never make it out of this”: Evaluation of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC)

KBT was commissioned by University Hospital of North-Norway and Tromsø to research and collect pasients’ experiences with Involuntary Outpatient Commitment in outreach teams (IOC) in Tromsø. The UIU-evaluation has resulted in the report “I fear I will never make it out of this”.

Freedom is a fundamental right, and something that is easy to take for granted. Illness can create “unfreedom” by lowering the quality of life, and unnecessary coercion will reduce one’s freedom even further. Trying voluntary care before TY TIL compulsory care is required by law. However, what this means in practice is not necessarily clear. It also requires a voluntary treatment to be available.

The project has four main goals meant to help elevating the quality of treatment:

  1. Crisis management for patients of IOC – more frequent and systematic use.
  2. Higher understanding of IOC-patients and their experience.
  3. Forming informational material on IOC tailored to users and their relatives.
  4. Gathering the patients’ and personnel’s experiences with crisis management, and make them heard.

Overarching goal:

Elevating the quality of treatment to people undergoing compulsory care in outreach teams, and reduce the use of coercion.

Some participants expressed that IOC provides a sense of safety and predictability in everyday life, by having people help them carry out daily routines. Everyone agrees that being admitted to IOC is a huge influence on their life, in one wat or the other.

The uncertainty surrounding the intention behind IOC, and the lack of information about what the health authorities can do to you, creates distrust towards the institutions. The patients feel it is difficult trust a system that does not seem to have trust in them. They had a feeling of being under constant surveillance, and were afraid that something they’d say or express might be used against them later. More than one used the metaphor of “feeling like a marionette”. Others said they felt like a pawn in a game they were not a part of, or as a lab rat for the health authorities.

Annika Alexandersen
Astrid Weber

Report in Norwegian:

Bruker Spør Bruker – “Jeg er redd jeg aldri skal komme meg ut av dette” – Evaluering av Tvungent psykisk helsevern uten døgnopphold (2016)