Relationship between practice counselling and referral to outpatient psychiatry and clinical psychology.
BACKGROUND: Although reduction in the use of secondary care mental health services is a suggested benefit of counselling in general practice, there has been little empirical investigation of this relationship. AIM: To investigate the relationship between the provision of counselling in general practice and the use of outpatient psychiatry and clinical psychology services across a geographical area. METHOD: Information on referrals to outpatient psychiatry and clinical psychology from all general practices in the London Borough of Islington over one year (October 1993 to September 1994) was collected from the routine information systems of the main hospital departments serving this area. Referral rates per 1000 practice population were compared for practices with and without a practice-based counsellor. RESULTS: Fifteen (35%) of the 43 practices had a counsellor based in the practice. The median referral rate to clinical psychology was higher in practices with a counsellor (4.1 per 1000) than in practices without a counsellor (0.8 per 1000). There was no relationship between the provision of practice counselling and median referral rates to outpatient psychiatry (1.8 per 1000 with a counsellor, 1.7 per 1000 without a counsellor). CONCLUSION: Provision of practice counselling in the study was associated with higher referral rates to clinical psychology and no difference in referral rates to outpatient psychiatry. This is in contrast to the hypothesis that counselling reduces the use of secondary care mental health services. (+info)
Early theory and research on hemispheric specialization.
This article provides an account of early theory and research on hemispheric specialization. It begins by tracing theory and research on localization of function that set the stage for the discovery of hemispheric specialization. After that, it describes the studies of Paul Broca, John Hughlings-Jackson, and others on hemisphere specialization and reviews some of the proposed explanations for the phenomenon. It then turns to the study of hemispheric specialization and mental illness, and it ends by identifying some of the linkages between theory and research from the past and the present. (+info)
A new method of developing expert consensus practice guidelines.
To improve the quality of medical care while reducing costs, it is necessary to standardize best practice habits at the most crucial clinical decision points. Because many pertinent questions encountered in everyday practice are not well answered by the available research, expert consensus is a valuable bridge between clinical research and clinical practice. Previous methods of developing expert consensus have been limited by their relative lack of quantification, specificity, representativeness, and implementation. This article describes a new method of developing, documenting, and disseminating expert consensus guidelines that meets these concerns. This method has already been applied to four disorders in psychiatry and could be equally useful for other medical conditions. Leading clinical researchers studying a given disorder complete a survey soliciting their opinions on its most important disease management questions that are not covered well by definitive research. The survey response rates among the experts for the four different psychiatric disorders have each exceeded 85%. The views of the clinical researchers are validated by surveying separately a large group of practicing clinicians to ensure that the guideline recommendations are widely generalizable. All of the suggestions made in the guideline are derived from, and referenced to, the experts' survey responses using criteria that were established a priori for defining first-, second-, and third-line choices. Analysis of survey results suggests that this method of quantifying expert responses achieves a high level of reliability and reproducibility. This survey method is probably the best available means for standardizing practice for decisions points not well covered by research. (+info)
Managing somatic preoccupation.
Somatically preoccupied patients are a heterogeneous group of persons who have no genuine physical disorder but manifest psychologic conflicts in a somatic fashion; who have a notable psychologic overlay that accompanies or complicates a genuine physical disorder; or who have psychophysiologic symptoms in which psychologic factors play a major role in physiologic symptoms. In the primary care setting, somatic preoccupation is far more prevalent among patients than are the psychiatric disorders collectively referred to as somatoform disorders (e.g., somatization disorder, hypochondriasis). Diagnostic clues include normal results from physical examination and diagnostic tests, multiple unexplained symptoms, high health care utilization patterns and specific factors in the family and the social history. Treatment may include a physician behavior management strategy, antidepressants, psychiatric consultation and cognitive-behavior therapy. (+info)
Persistence of substance use-related hospital utilization among psychiatric consultation patients.
Among 86 consecutive consultation-liaison (C-L) patients with current substance use-related hospital attendance, the case records revealed an average history of 5.9 years in male patients and 5.3 years in female patients of repeated substance use-related hospital visits. A history of at least 1 year was found in 60% (52/86) of patients. The history had started at the age of early 30s with attempted suicide as the most common principal diagnosis. By the age of 40, there had been several hospital visits for various health problems. However, 48% (41/86) of the patients had never received substance use treatment. It appeared that opportunities to intervene with substance use were frequently missed on hospital encounters, a finding also observed in earlier studies. (+info)
Differences between generalists and mental health specialists in the psychiatric treatment of Medicare beneficiaries.
OBJECTIVE: To examine differences between the general medical and mental health specialty sectors in the expenditure and treatment patterns of aged and disabled Medicare beneficiaries with a physician diagnosis of psychiatric disorder. DATA SOURCES: Based on 1991-1993 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey data, linked to the beneficiary's claims and area-level data on provider supply from the Area Resources File and the American Psychological Association. STUDY DESIGN: Outcomes examined included the number of psychiatric services received, psychiatric and total Medicare expenditures, the type of services received, whether or not the patient was hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder, the length of the psychiatric care episode, the intensity of service use, and satisfaction with care. We compared these outcomes for beneficiaries who did and did not receive mental health specialty services during the episode, using multiple regression analyses to adjust for observable population differences. We also performed sensitivity analyses using instrumental variables techniques to reduce the potential bias arising from unmeasured differences in patient case mix across sectors. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Relative to beneficiaries treated only in the general medical sector, those seen by a mental health specialist had longer episodes of care, were more likely to receive services specific to psychiatry, and had greater psychiatric and total expenditures. Among the elderly persons, the higher costs were due to a combination of longer episodes and greater intensity; among the persons who were disabled, they were due primarily to longer episodes. Some evidence was also found of higher satisfaction with care among the disabled individuals treated in the specialty sector. However, evidence of differences in psychiatric hospitalization rates was weaker. CONCLUSIONS: Mental health care provided to Medicare beneficiaries in the general medical sector does not appear to substitute perfectly for care provided in the specialty sector. Our study suggests that the treatment patterns in the specialty sector may be preferred by some patients; further, earlier findings indicate geographic barriers to obtaining specialty care. Thus, the matching of service use to clinical need among this vulnerable population may be inappropriate. The need for further research on outcomes is indicated. (+info)
Sexual harassment of psychiatric trainees: experiences and attitudes.
A survey was carried out of psychiatric trainees' work-related experiences of unwanted sexual contact. A structured postal questionnaire was administered to 100 psychiatric trainees from senior house officer to specialist registrar level in a large psychiatric rotation. There was an 85% response rate; 86% (73) of the sample had experienced unwanted sexual contact, with 47% (40) experiencing deliberate touching, leaning over or cornering, and 18% (15) receiving letters, telephone calls or material of a sexual nature. Three-quarters (64) of respondents had experienced unwanted sexual contact from patients and 64% (54) from staff. Experiences and attitudes did not generally differ by gender, grade or training experience. Four out of 48 female respondents described stalking by patients. Of the 39 respondents who had reported harassment by patients, 31 felt supported by colleagues, while of the 13 who had reported harassment by colleagues, eight felt supported. Two-thirds of the respondents considered sexual harassment 'some-times' or 'frequently' a problem for the profession. Diagnoses of confusional states, mania or schizophrenia made subjects less likely to consider unwanted sexual behaviour to be 'sexual harassment' (86%, 80%, and 67%, respectively), but not for other diagnoses. Levels of threatening and intrusive sexual harassment are unacceptably high in this study group. Health trusts should adopt policies of 'zero tolerance' and all incidents should be reported. Psychological impact on victims should be acknowledged even when the behaviour of the perpetrator can be explained by diagnosis. (+info)
Characteristics of health plans that treat psychiatric patients.
Nationally representative data regarding the organizational, financial, and procedural features of health plans in which psychiatric patients receive treatment indicate that fewer privately insured, Medicaid, and Medicare managed care enrollees receive care from a psychiatrist than is true for "nonmanaged" enrollees. Financial considerations were reported to adversely affect treatment for one-third of all patients. Although utilization management techniques and financial/resource constraints commonly applied to patients in both managed and nonmanaged plans, performance-based incentives were rare in nonmanaged plans. The traditional health plan categories provide limited information to identify salient plan characteristics and guide policy decisions regarding the provision of care. (+info)