Quality of psychiatric care in the general hospital: referrer perceptions of an inpatient liaison psychiatry service.
Solomons LC., Thachil A., Burgess C., Hopper A., Glen-Day V., Ranjith G., Hodgkiss A.
AIMS: To explore the experience of senior staff on acute medical wards using an established inpatient liaison psychiatry service and obtain their views on clinically relevant performance measures. METHODS: Semistructured face-to-face interviews with consultants and senior nurses were taped, transcribed and analyzed manually using the framework method of analysis. RESULTS: Twenty-five referrers were interviewed. Four key themes were identified - benefits of the liaison service, potential areas of improvement, indices of service performance such as speed and quality of response and expanded substance misuse service. Respondents felt the liaison service benefited patients, staff and service delivery in the general hospital. Medical consultants wanted stepped management plans devised by consultant liaison psychiatrists. Senior nurses, who perceived themselves as frontline crisis managers, valued on-the-spot input on patient management. CONCLUSIONS: Consultants and senior nurses differed in their expectations of liaison psychiatry. Referrers valued speed of response and regarded time from referral to definitive management plan as a key performance indicator for benchmarking services.