Nursing and residential homes

Much of that which is required for liaison visits to general hospitals applies to assessment in residential or nursing homes, most notably trying to see the patient in a private room away from other residents. Since abuse of elderly people is sometimes at issue in these settings, it is preferable to have at least some time completely alone with the patient firstly, and if indicated, to check for bruises or other injuries, and secondly to allow the patient to tell the doctor things which she might be frightened to do in front of the staff of the home. Another problem in some nursing and residential homes is that the psychiatrist finds that an untrained or unqualified member of staff accompanies him, the quality of whose information may not be at the level of trained nurses. Careful questioning of several members of staff, attention to written records, and telephone calls to appropriate informants should all improve the quality of the assessment.

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