Terminology Consultations

Throughout the world the term consultation-liaison (CL) psychiatry is used to describe psychiatric services delivered to patients in general hospital wards, although the term 'liaison psychiatry' is preferred in the United Kingdom. In this chapter the term 'liaison' will only be used to describe a specific 'liaison function' provided in addition to the basic consultation function; the latter is the response to requests by other doctors for psychiatric advice. Sometimes an advance consultation contract is made for patients with specific clinical problems, where the agreement may be between the consultant and departmental head, a hospital board, or a health-care provider. An example is a consultation contract that may be implemented for patients who have attempted suicide. Whereas in the past contracts were often made for consultations about, for example, renal transplantation procedures, nowadays they may be made in an attempt to ensure a high degree of patient compliance in, for instance, those patients undergoing cardiac and liver transplantation, those with other physical diseases, or patients with behavioural disturbances.

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