Developing a service to monitor and improve physical health in people with serious mental illness

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Abstract

Developing effective models of identifying and managing physical health
problems amongst mentally ill populations has become a more pressing issue
in recent years as the prescription of Second Generation Antipsychotics
(SGAs) has burgeoned. Some of the side effects commonly associated with
SGAs such as weight gain and metabolic disorders have potentially devastating
effects on health and well-being, increasing cardiovascular risk and the
incidence of diabetes. The Well-Being Support Programme (WSP), a nurse-led
service, was designed to provide a care delivery system whereby physical
problems could be identified and appropriate treatment and monitoring initiated
by prompt referral to suitable specialist services or general practitioners,
forging strong links between primary and secondary care and ensuring
that mentally ill patients with physical health problems were receiving holistic
care packages. Other problems such as unhealthy lifestyles and obesity
were managed by the Nurse Advisor running the programme. Interventions
such as weight counselling and groups, and structured exercise programmes
were beneficial in terms of encouraging healthier lifestyles, managing obesity
and improving self-esteem. This paper describes the manner in which the service
was set up and implemented, demonstrating an effective model for identifying
and managing physical health problems in the mentally ill.
Keywords
: antipsychotic, communication, lifestyle, physical health, selfesteem
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-619
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Volume12
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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