A review of research on the structure, process and outcome of liaison mental health services

Department of Mental Health and Learning Disability, City University, Philpot Street, London E1 2EA,UK.
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.84). 04/2003; 10(2):155-65. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2850.2003.00300.x
Source: PubMed


Liaison mental health services (LMHS) developed originally to address the mental health needs of people with physical illnesses in general hospitals and more recently to work also with people with mental health problems presenting at non-mental health services. The purpose of the present paper was to review empirical research on the structure, process and outcome of liaison mental health services using systematic review methods. Following a comprehensive search strategy, the authors reviewed 48 papers published between 1975 and 2001. There is an extensive international literature on LMHS, much of which describes the structure and process of liaison work. Studies evaluating the outcomes of liaison mental health services are fewer, and handicapped by methodological flaws, some of which are serious enough to cast doubts on the reported results. Professionals and clients value LMHS. LMHS based in accident and emergency (A & E) departments appear to ease the burden of general A & E staff, help clients access mental health services and reduce re-admission rates of people with mental health problems. There is little evidence supporting one model of configuring LMHS over another.

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    • "Borus et al. [2] argue that studies of C-L psychiatry's impact ought to be longitudinal and include examination of readmissions, persistence of physical and emotional dysfunction after hospital, adherence to prescribed medical regimens and rehabilitation programs, disability, and lost work days. While there is an extensive international literature on liaison mental health services, Callaghan et al. [3], in their review of 17 evaluative studies of these services, point out that most investigations examine the structure and process of liaison work, with little attention paid to outcome variables such as compliance with treatment recommendations and patient satisfaction. Furthermore, even in those instances where outcome is considered, patients' views tend not to be solicited. "
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