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Crises such as the global pandemic of Covid-19 (coronavirus) elicit a range of responses from individuals and societies adversely affecting physical and emotional well-being. This article provides an overview of factors elicited in response to Covid-19 and their impact on immunity, physical health, mental health and wellbeing. Certain groups, such as individuals with mental illness, are especially vulnerable, so it is important to maximise the supports available to this population and their families during the pandemic. More broadly, the World Health Organization recommends “Psychological First Aid” as a useful technique that can help many people in a time of crisis.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) presents two urgent health problems: the illness caused by the virus itself and the anxiety, panic and psychological problems associated with the pandemic. Both problems present substantial challenges for our patients, their families, our multidisciplinary teams and our psychiatrist colleagues. We need good psychiatry, now more than ever.
Capacity legislation in Ireland is evolving. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 has been passed into law, but its main provisions are yet to be commenced. This paper compares the law and its practical implications currently and under the new legislation. Quick reference algorithms for frontline clinicians are proposed.
In 2018, India's Mental Healthcare Act 2017 granted a legally binding right to mental healthcare to 1.3 billion people, in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Many countries, including the UK, ratified the Convention but only India has stepped up to the mark so dramatically.
Epilepsy and mental illness have a bidirectional association. Psychiatrists are likely to encounter epilepsy as comorbidity. Seizures may present as mental illness. Equally, the management of psychiatric conditions has the potential to destabilise epilepsy. There is a need for structured epilepsy awareness and training amongst psychiatrists. This paper outlines key considerations around diagnosis, treatment and risk while suggesting practical recommendations.
Culture-based studies, which focus on individual organisms, have implicated stethoscopes as potential vectors of nosocomial bacterial transmission. However, the full bacterial communities that contaminate in-use stethoscopes have not been investigated.
We used bacterial 16S rRNA gene deep-sequencing, analysis, and quantification to profile entire bacterial populations on stethoscopes in use in an intensive care unit (ICU), including practitioner stethoscopes, individual-use patient-room stethoscopes, and clean unused individual-use stethoscopes. Two additional sets of practitioner stethoscopes were sampled before and after cleaning using standardized or practitioner-preferred methods.
Bacterial contamination levels were highest on practitioner stethoscopes, followed by patient-room stethoscopes, whereas clean stethoscopes were indistinguishable from background controls. Bacterial communities on stethoscopes were complex, and community analysis by weighted UniFrac showed that physician and patient-room stethoscopes were indistinguishable and significantly different from clean stethoscopes and background controls. Genera relevant to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were common on practitioner stethoscopes, among which Staphylococcus was ubiquitous and had the highest relative abundance (6.8%–14% of contaminating bacterial sequences). Other HAI-related genera were also widespread although lower in abundance. Cleaning of practitioner stethoscopes resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial contamination levels, but these levels reached those of clean stethoscopes in only a few cases with either standardized or practitioner-preferred methods, and bacterial community composition did not significantly change.
Stethoscopes used in an ICU carry bacterial DNA reflecting complex microbial communities that include nosocomially important taxa. Commonly used cleaning practices reduce contamination but are only partially successful at modifying or eliminating these communities.
Rates of involuntary admission are increasing in England. Personality disorder should be excluded as a criterion for involuntary admission; stronger restraint reduction programmes should be instigated; and involuntary care should be based on treating illness (something we can do) and not on predicting violence (something we cannot).
Euthanasia is available in Belgium and Luxembourg for untreatable and unbearable suffering resulting from ‘physical and/or psychological suffering that cannot be alleviated and results from a serious and incurable disease, caused by accident or illness'. Verhofstadt et al's valuable analysis of testimonials from psychiatric patients requesting euthanasia demonstrates that elements of this suffering might well be alleviated. We should not kill our patients.