The mental health nurse: A valuable addition to the consultation-liaison team

St. Vincent's Mental Health Service, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia.
International journal of mental health nursing (Impact Factor: 1.95). 04/2006; 15(1):35-43. DOI: 10.1111/j.1447-0349.2006.00393.x
Source: PubMed


Nurses, particularly those working in non-psychiatric settings, report that they do not feel adequately prepared to meet the mental health needs of patients. The psychiatric consultation-liaison nursing role has arisen in part, as a response to these difficulties and aims to facilitate access to mental health nursing expertise for general hospital patients and staff. The impact of the introduction of a nursing position into an established consultation-liaison psychiatry service was evaluated using an activity audit, a staff attitude survey, and staff focus groups. The findings demonstrated that the addition of the nursing role to the consultation-liaison psychiatry service improved access of general hospital patients to specialist mental health care. It also provided valued expert assistance to staff in the provision of care to this patient group, particularly those with complex problems and significant psychiatric comorbidity. The study found that the nursing consultation was particularly helpful because of its focus on practical and care-orientated interventions. The model of practice that evolved out of this project is described and the findings support the use of both direct and indirect patient interventions as important psychiatric consultation-liaison nurse activities.

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    • "Furthermore, the suggestion that students could utilize placements in the general health-care sector to sometimes focus on mental health nursing and sometimes focus on physical health care appears diametrically opposed to the nursing profession's claim to embrace holistic care as central (Wand & Murray 2008). Physical and mental health issues do not occur in isolation, with high levels of comorbidity evident in both general and mental health-care settings (Happell & Cleary 2012; Sharrock et al. 2006). Therefore, the importance of assessing and responding to mental health challenges within the general health-care setting provides an important opportunity to reinforce the importance of mental health, rather than to present a substitute for nursing experience within a specialist mental health setting (Happell & Platania-Phung 2012). "
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    • "The main contributions of a liaison nursing team seem to be facilitating effective discharge planning and continuity of care [17], and improving staff nurse care for older patients [18], as documented by the intensive followup provided by the liaison LOAP team over a short period of time (majority of patients being seen 3 or more times). Another study demonstrated that the nursing component to the liaison team, besides facilitating access of general hospital patients to specialist mental health care services, is particularly helpful for its focus on practical and care-oriented interventions [19]. This is also the case for our service, where up to 40% of the clinical case load was due to level of care and management of behavioural problems, in which instances the liaison nursing rather than the medical team are involved. "
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    • "Sullivan et al. (2006) "
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