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Physical health and health risk factors in a population of long-stay psychiatric patients

  • Irene Cormac (a1), Michael Ferriter (a2), Ram Benning (a3) and Carol Saul (a4)
Abstract
Aims and Method

To evaluate the physical health and health risk factors in long-stay psychiatric patients in a high secure psychiatric hospital. A cross-sectional survey of consenting patients was undertaken using a semi-structured questionnaire, a brief physical examination and review of patient case notes. A comparison was made with data collected on admission and held on the Special Hospitals' Case Register.

Results

Main findings were: a mean increase in weight since admission, in men of 10.62 kg and in women of 12.74 kg; high rates of smoking, obesity and large waist size; 54% of patients had one or more health problems.

Clinical Implications

The study's profile of the physical health of psychiatric in-patients indicates the need for health promotion initiatives in such hospitals and the need for primary care services.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Physical health and health risk factors in a population of long-stay psychiatric patients

  • Irene Cormac (a1), Michael Ferriter (a2), Ram Benning (a3) and Carol Saul (a4)
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eLetters

Physical Health in Psychiatry

Partha Gangopadhyay, Senior House Officer
28 April 2005

I read with interest Dr Cormac et al’s article about physical health and health risk factors in a population of long-stay psychiatric patients (Psychiatric Bulletin, January 2005, 29, 18-20). I have worked in a high secure hospital as part of my psychiatric training and have very similar observations regarding physical health parameters of patients. Avoidable health risk factors contributing to cardiovascular morbidity and mortalityincluding high rates of smoking, central obesity, lack of physical exercise and poor dietary habits are prevalent among patients in Special Hospitals. The increase in health risk and consequent morbidity has to be evaluated in the context of psychiatric populations elsewhere as well as general population.

The urgent need for health promotion activities and provision of primary care services in long-stay patient units cannot be overemphasized.The primary care services in Broadmoor Hospital are provided by a team consisting of general practitioner (GP), nurse practitioner, dietitian, podiatrist, dentist, visiting radiographer, visiting optician and part-time lady GP exclusively for women patients. In spite of having excellent fitness facilities including a well-equipped gymnasium & swimming pool, the majority of patients suffer from excessive weight gain and hypertension. The health & leisure department has collaborated with the dietitian and occupational therapy services forming a multipurpose working group promoting healthy activities. The individual wards are responsible for monitoring the weightof their patients who then receive input from primary care facilities. Thepatients being treated with clozapine are regularly reviewed in the clozapine clinic with appropriate investigations. The presence of an on-site GP who liaises with specialists in other centers facilitates the appropriate referral of patients requiring specialist opinion on physical health issues.

The provision of comprehensive primary care facilities is essential for the maintenance of sound physical health of long-stay psychiatric in-patients. This also promotes a mutually beneficial environment for the mental health teams, patients and the primary care team resulting in better patient-care.

(Word Count- 331)

Declaration of Interest- None.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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