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Continuing Care for Mentally Stable Psychiatric Patients in Primary Care: Patients' Preferences and Views

International Journal of Family Medicine
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1155/2012/575381
  • Research Article
  • Design
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


Objective. To investigate the preferences of psychiatric patients regarding attendance for their continuing mental health care once stable from a primary care setting as opposed to a specialized psychiatric service setting. Methods. 150 consecutive psychiatric patients attending outpatient review in a community mental health centre in Dublin were approached and asked to complete a semistructured questionnaire designed to assess the objectives of the study. Results. 145 patients completed the questionnaire giving a response rate of 97%. Ninety-eight patients (68%) preferred attending a specialized psychiatry service even when stabilised on their treatment. The common reason given by patients in this category was fear of substandard quality of psychiatric care from their general practitioners (GPs) (67 patients, 68.4%). Twenty-nine patients (20%) preferred to attend their GP for continuing mental health care. The reasons given by these patients included confidence in GPs, providing same level of care as psychiatrist for mental illness (18 patients or 62%), and the advantage of managing both mental and physical health by GPs (13 patients, 45%). Conclusion. Most patients who attend specialised psychiatric services preferred to continue attending specialized psychiatric services even if they become mentally stable than primary care, with most reasons revolving around fears of inadequate psychiatric care from GPs.

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