Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine an audit that was performed of all patients referred to a liaison psychiatry inpatient consultation service which sought to establish a baseline for demographics, type of referral, and management of referrals, with a view to introducing improved evidence‐based treatments. It also aims to examine timeliness of response to referrals benchmarked against published standards. Design/methodology/approach – All inpatient referrals to a liaison psychiatry service were recorded over a six‐month period, including demographics, diagnosis, management and timeliness of response to referrals. The data were retrospectively analysed and compared against international standards. Findings – A total of 172 referrals were received in the six months. Commonest referral reasons included assessments regarding depressive disorders (23.8 per cent), delirium/other cognitive disorders (19.2 per cent), alcohol‐related disorders (18.6 per cent), anxiety disorders (14.5 per cent), and risk management (12.2 per cent). Evidence‐based practices were not utilised effectively for a number of different types of presentations. A total of 40.1 per cent of referrals were seen on the same day, 75.4 per cent by the end of the next day, and 93.4 per cent by the end of the following day. Practical implications – Use of a hospital protocol for management of delirium may improve outcomes for these patients. Evidence‐based techniques, such as brief intervention therapies, may be beneficial for referrals involving alcohol dependence. Referrals were seen reasonably quickly, but there is room for improvement when compared with published standards. Originality/value – This paper provides valuable information for those involved in management of liaison psychiatry consultation services, providing ideas for development and implementation of evidence based practices.
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2009
Keywords: Clinical audit; Quality; Continuous improvement; Evidence‐based practice; Hospital management; Benchmarking
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