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Psychiatric assessments on medical wards: a guide for general psychiatrists

  • Tim Segal and Gopinath Ranjith
Summary

Psychiatric assessments on medical wards of a general hospital are complicated by various factors, including the lack of privacy, medical illness-related factors such as cognitive deficits and communication barriers, and the vagueness of the referral question asked. In this article, we try to guide general psychiatrists who do not routinely carry out such assessments through practical steps from receiving the referral to signing off the case. The key differences in the process and content of psychiatric assessments are discussed, as are diagnostic dilemmas. Subtle aspects of communicating the outcome of the assessments to patients and referrers are emphasised with specific guidance on writing consultation notes. We conclude with a discussion of the principles of biopsychosocial management and judging the outcomes of consultations on medical wards.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Gopinath Ranjith, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Scutari Clinic, St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH, UK. Email: gopinath.ranjith@slam.nhs.uk
Footnotes
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LEARNING OUTCOMES

• Gain an appreciation of the differences between a standard psychiatric assessment and an assessment of a patient in a general hospital inpatient setting

• Learn about dealing with a referral from a medical ward, from receiving the referral to formulating a management plan

• Learn about communicating the outcome of the assessment to the referrer and judging the success of the consultation

DECLARATION OF INTEREST

None

Footnotes
References
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  • ISSN: 2056-4678
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Psychiatric assessments on medical wards: a guide for general psychiatrists

  • Tim Segal and Gopinath Ranjith
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