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This article presents a 12-month case series to determine the fraction of ward referrals of adults of working age who needed a liaison psychiatrist in a busy tertiary referral teaching hospital.
The service received 344 referrals resulting in 1259 face-to-face contacts. Depression accounted for the most face-to-face contacts. We deemed the involvement of a liaison psychiatrist necessary in 241 (70.1%) referrals, with medication management as the most common reason.
A substantial amount of liaison ward work involves the treatment and management of severe and complex mental health problems. Our analysis suggests that in the majority of cases the input of a liaison psychiatrist is required.
To develop a simple, pragmatic typology to characterise the nature of liaison interventions delivered by a liaison service in a National Health Service setting. We carried out a retrospective electronic case-note review of referrals to a ward-based liaison psychiatry service.
Three hundred and forty-four patients were referred to the service over a 12-month period. Ten different types of liaison interventions were identified, with the most common interventions being diagnosis (112 patients, 32.6%), medication management (57 patients, 16.6%), risk assessment and treatment (56 patients, 16.3% each). Mental Health Act work accounted for the greatest number of contacts per patient (median 7).
There are inherent limitations in any single-site observational study, as site-specific results cannot be generalised to other liaison services. The intervention categories we developed, however, are easy to use and will provide a way of comparing and benchmarking the range of interventions delivered by different liaison psychiatry services.
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