Background When mentally ill patients are admitted to general hospitals, effective psychiatry liaison results in better patient outcomes and reduced length of stay.1 However, studies in our institution suggest that routine referrals can take 14 days from hospital admission, and only occur in a third of patients taking drugs for mental health conditions.2
Purpose To determine if a novel, pharmacist-driven, referral pathway can improve patient access and reduce the time delay associated with referrals.
Material and methods A pharmacist referral system using real-time dispensing information and direct reports from ward pharmacy teams was developed to identify hospital in-patients receiving antipsychotics, mood stabilisers or dementia medicines. A specialist pharmacist reviewed the patient and referred him/her to psychiatric liaison services if indicated. Data were recorded in line with national [Caldicott] ethical guidelines.
Results Between 17/09/2012 and 28/10/2013 the pharmacist made 41 referrals to psychiatric liaison services, accounting for 45% of the total number of referrals in this patient cohort. The mean time from hospital admission to pharmacist referral was 4.4 days (107 h, SD: 110 h). Increased access to psychiatric services was also seen with 47% (n = 138) patients being referred representing a 14% absolute increase from baseline.
Conclusion A specialist pharmacist linking acute and psychiatric services in an acute, general hospital improves access and reduces delays from admission to psychiatric expertise.
References and/or Acknowledgements
Mental Health Network NHS Confederation. With money in mind: The benefits of liaison psychiatry. Briefing 2011
Schneider C, et al. Using hospital pharmacy dispensing records to categorise referrals to the RAID service: a preliminary study. IJPP 2012;20:35
References and/or AcknowledgementsNo conflict of interest.
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