A postal questionnaire was sent to consultant psychiatrists in the West Midlands to establish their current ward round practice. This questionnaire addressed ward round etiquette, practical issues and educational function. Consultants received only one mailing.
A total of 96 (out of 139) consultants replied (69% response rate). The majority of consultants saw patients on the ward round (97%) and all consultants introduced both themselves and team members to the patient; 72% explained the purpose of the ward round. A median of seven professionals attended the ward round with psychology (6.5%) and pharmacy services (0%) being underrepresented. When consultants added comments, the recurrent themes were that ward rounds were an effective use of professional time but were often daunting for patients.
Our results indicate some uniformity in the conduct of ward rounds. The lack of representation at ward rounds for certain professional groups may adversely affect the range of opinions and therapies for patients. Changes could be made to incorporate the views of users, which would make ward rounds more productive for users and professionals.
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