Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 June 2014
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the provision of psychiatric care to inpatients in two Irish general hospitals without psychiatric units and to comment on (a) how this service model compares with previous Irish studies, (b) whether it meets the goals of liaison psychiatry, and (c) the implications for future service planning. Method: Demographic and clinical details relating to all the psychiatric consultations to inpatients (i.e. there was no emergency service to the casualty department) in two general hospitals were collected over a six month period. Results: Although the service was provided on a nonemergency basis the referral rate [1.6% of total admissions], patient characteristics, reasons for referral, diagnoses, and suggested management strategies were very similar to previous Irish studies. Assessment of deliberate self-harm cases was the most common reason for referral [37.9% of 145 referrals]. Notably, there was a high level of diagnostic accuracy from non-psychiatric colleagues in this liaison model. Conclusions: This study, of a service model characterised by an emphasis on liaison, points to efforts on the part of the psychiatrist to improve communication with medical and surgical colleagues as being of primary importance in the development of general hospital psychiatry services.
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