Psychiatric consultations for nursing-home residents: aspects and course of such consultations
background Psychiatric symptoms occur frequently in nursing-home residents. The psychiatric expertise and support available to residents vary from one nursing home to another. International studies show that psychiatric consultations can be effective, but in the Netherlands very little research has been done on this topic.
aim To list the types of psychiatric problems and symptoms for which consultations are requested and to determine whether a psychiatric consultation can have positive results for nursing-home residents and staff.
method The psychiatric consultations requested were tabulated and were analysed.
results Details of 71 psychiatric consultations were recorded. The percentage of women (average age 74 years) was slightly higher than the percentage of men. More than 75% of the patients suffered from agitation/aggression or irritability, 65% suffered from depression, 63% from anxiety and 56% from dysinhibition. A post-intervention assessment was performed in 54 patients (76%). In this group psychiatric symptoms were found to be greatly reduced, with regard to both frequency and severity. In addition, nursing staff seemed to suffer less of the stress and strain in their work.
conclusion The patients for whom a consultation was requested seemed to suffer from serious psychiatric symptoms and were often aggressive. It was possible to achieve substantial progress as a result of a simple intervention. A possible explanation for this effect is probably the nature of the psychiatric consultation used; it was structured, multi-disciplinary and time-consuming. However, since no control group was involved, it is impossible to say with certainty that the reduction in symptoms can be attributed solely to the consultation.