Liaison psychiatry and referral rates among hospitalized patients.
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OBJECTIVE: The study was conducted to assess the psychiatric co-morbidity among general hospital patients and their rate of referrals. DESIGN: A hospital based descriptive observational study. PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: The study was conducted in a private teaching hospital for a period of 6 months. METHOD: All admitted patients in different disciplines were assessed on a structured proforma supplemented by detailed psychiatric interview on positive cases. Morbidity patterns were assessed on the basis of ICD-10 classification. The total referral record was also maintained and compared with the data of morbidity and the number of referred cases. RESULTS: Out of the total 487 patients seen, 180 patients were found to have psychiatric co-morbidity; depression outnumbered all psychiatric disorders followed by mixed anxiety depression and somatoform disorders. Married female formed the majority group and the vulnerable age was between 41 to 60 years. Large segment of patients belonged to the discipline of internal medicine with the lowest (12%) referral rate. Out of 121 patients, referred from department of psychiatry, 44% were seen by the department of medicine followed by the gynecology and other disciplines. CONCLUSION: There is generally a low referral rate despite significant mental health co-morbidity. Training is needed for non-psychiatrists and there is a need for development of consultation-liaison psychiatry services in hospitals
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