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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

CR108. The Psychological Care of Medical Patients: A practical guide


Price: £15.00

Approved: 2002

Published: Jan 2003

Status: under review

Number of pages: 134

Review by: Oct 2007

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Hospital doctors are increasingly recognising that in many patients medical illness is accompanied by psychological distress that also requires intervention. For many patients the general hospital is often a way into psychiatric care, for example for those with somatic symptoms, following deliberate self-harm or with complications of drug and alcohol misuse.
 
This joint report from the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Psychiatrists aims to highlight the importance of addressing the psychological dimension of medical practice and to foster the development of services designed to improve the psychological care of medical patients. The latter target is best achieved by establishing a multidisciplinary liaison psychiatry service in every general hospital.
 
There is a high prevalence of psychiatric disorders in general hospital patients, including depression, anxiety disorders, delirium and substance misuse. Many patients with significant and persistent psychological symptoms respond well to psychological or pharmacological treatments, or therapeutic interventions. Thus, physicians need to be able to identify these problems, to arrange basic psychological care and know when to refer patients to specialist psychiatric and psychological services. This report is a practical guide which addresses these issues, outlines the common psychiatric syndromes and advises on their recognition and management.
 
The report includes chapters on the following areas:
 
  • Communication and psychological assessment
  • Psychological responses to illness
  • Medically unexplained symptoms
  • Management of psychological problems
  • Deliberate self-harm
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Dementia, delirium and organic mood disorders
  • The Mental Health Act 1983, common law and consent to treatment
  • Developing a liaison service.


(This report replaces CR35. The Psychological Care of Medical Patients: recognition and need of service provision from 1995.)

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ISBN for CR108:
978-1-860161-78-0