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Referral is not a necessity for a patient who wants to get psychiatrist consultation in Latvia. The good thing about it is the availability and the possibility to consult with highest educated mental health specialist for any person in society without barriers. On the other hand, there is an overwhelming work load for psychiatrists.
To explore the prevalence of self-referred patients in out-patient care and the adherence to psychiatrist recommendations.
The medical documentation of all consecutive first-time out-patient center “Pardaugava” psychiatrist patients over the period of 01.01.2020. to 30.04.2020. with one year follow-up was analyzed.
236 patients were included in the study, 31.2% of them were men. The average age was 49 (SD ± 22.65) years. Patients with Affective (F3X) and Neurotic (F4X) disorders were self-referred more often compared to Organic mental (F0X) disorder or other spectrum patients (83.3% and 77.5% vs 33.3% or 56.0%, p<0.001). Median appointment count was 4, higher in F4X (6) and lower in F3X patients (2). Majority of F4X patients (61,6%) did not follow the recommendations or stopped seeing psychiatrist, while only 13,7% were persistent. Сonversely, 48,4% of F3X patients followed the recommendations and only 43,5% stopped. In comparison, other spectrum patients followed recommendations in 32.0% of cases and ignored - in 56.6%.
Patients were actively self-referring themselves to psychiatrist. Highest adherence to psychiatrist recommendations was found in patients with affective disorders compared to other spectrum patients. In contrast, adherence was the lowest in patients with neurotic disorders.
Compulsory admission procedures of patients with mental disorders vary between countries in Europe. The Ethics Committee of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) launched a survey on involuntary admission procedures of patients with mental disorders in 40 countries to gather information from all National Psychiatric Associations that are members of the EPA to develop recommendations for improving involuntary admission processes and promote voluntary care.
The survey focused on legislation of involuntary admissions and key actors involved in the admission procedure as well as most common reasons for involuntary admissions.
We analyzed the survey categorical data in themes, which highlight that both medical and legal actors are involved in involuntary admission procedures.
We conclude that legal reasons for compulsory admission should be reworded in order to remove stigmatization of the patient, that raising awareness about involuntary admission procedures and patient rights with both patients and family advocacy groups is paramount, that communication about procedures should be widely available in lay-language for the general population, and that training sessions and guidance should be available for legal and medical practitioners. Finally, people working in the field need to be constantly aware about the ethical challenges surrounding compulsory admissions.
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