mental health

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Bringing together physical and mental health

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What would a more integrated approach look like?

Admission to a mental health inpatient facility would be seen as an opportunity to

improve the person’s mental and physical health. All people admitted to a mental

health inpatient facility would receive a full physical examination on admission or

within 24 hours, with investigations carried out promptly and clearly documented.

Mental health nurses would perform basic tests themselves, using standardised

toolkits such as the Lester tool (Royal College of Psychiatrists 2014), and would

consider this an important part of their role. Liaison physician roles would be

widespread, advising mental health providers on patients’ physical health. Liaison

roles would also exist for other professionals, such as clinical nurse specialists,

practice nurses and health coaches. In secure or rehabilitation units with longer

average length of stay, the more stable inpatient population would represent an

opportunity to provide a comprehensive range of primary care services within

the facility.

Further guidance

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Whole-person care: from rhetoric to reality. Achieving parity between mental and

physical health (Royal College of Psychiatrists 2013c)

Case study examples

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Primary care for secure inpatient units in west London (Appendix H)

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Physical health liaison service in Highgate mental health unit (Appendix I)

The case for change: 10 areas where integration is needed most 37

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