Omslag 2020 06 kijk verder

Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 53 (2011) 4, 201 - 210

New research

The added value of somatic screening for psychiatric outpatients

S.N. Swolfs, R.A. Boerkoel, C.A.Th. Rijnders

background Somatic disorders occur more often in psychiatric patients than in the general population; some disorders are undiagnosed at the moment of referral. According to current guidelines, patients admitted to a psychiatric clinic should receive somatic screening. This recommendation, however, does not apply to outpatients.
aim To assess the added value of screening for somatic disorders in patients newly referred to the outpatient department of a psychiatric clinic in the Netherlands.
method In a pilot study, newly referred outpatients aged between 18-65 were screened on the basis of a letter of referral, a questionnaire, an interview, standard blood tests and, if deemed necessary, additional blood tests. The screening was considered to have particular benefits when the outcome influenced the patient’s subsequent somatic and/or psychiatric treatment.
results One or more ‘new aspects of somatic concern’ were found in 62% of the study sample. Of the total of 162 found aspects, 64% were unknown at referral. In 34% of the patients the family doctor was contacted about subsequent treatment; in 2% of the patients a medical specialist was consulted and 10% was referred to a medical specialist.
conclusion A standard form of somatic screening in a psychiatric outpatient unit definitely provides added value. Further research is needed in order to optimise the screening instruments and the practicality of using such instruments.

keywords psychiatric outpatient department, somatic disorder, somatic screening