Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 April 2011
Aims – To evaluate the quality of psychiatric care during the acute psychotic episode and the early post-acute period. Methods – Data concerning 24 indicators, drawn from NICE recommendations, were collected in 19 Departments of Mental Health, in the frame of the SIEP-DIRECT's Project to evaluate the implementation of NICE recommendations in Italian Mental Health Services. Results – The treatment of the acute episode in the Italian Mental Health Services is not based only on admissions in Psychiatric Ward in General Hospitals, but also on intensive home based care. The utilization of day hospital facilities for treating acute episodes is less frequent, as the presence of home based follow up after discharge. About of Departments of Mental Health did not have clinical guidelines concerning the pharmacological treatment in this area. However usually the standard practices followed NICE recommendations in terms of prescribed dosages, monitoring side effects and rationale for shifting to atypical antipsychotic drugs. Antipsychotic drugs, atypical or conventional, were frequently prescribed concurrently, while utilization of atypical antipsychotic drugs was increasing. Conclusions – The results show critical points concerning on one hand the scarce diffusion of clinical guidelines, on other hand the connection between standard practices, clinical guidelines and marketing of atypical antipsychotic drugs. It should be reinforced the role of the community and particularly at service level the capacity of community mental health teams to treat the acute patients.
Declaration of Interest: none.