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Minerva Psichiatrica 1999 December;40(4):249-56


language: Italian

Emergency psychiatry. Evaluation of treatment in the setting of general medicine

Carli T., Bonifaci G., Colombo G.


The aim of this study was to acquire information regarding: the number, type and management of psychiatric emergencies encountered during a six-month period by general practitioners working in Health Unit 16 of the Veneto Region (including the city of Padua and the surrounding municipalities); the level of knowledge and use of the Emergency Psychiatric Service at the Psychiatry Clinic in Padua by general practitioners during the course of their own activities.
Methods. A specially devised multiple choice questionnaire was circulated among the 314 general practitioners working in the Padua area and 123 doctors accepted to take part in the study.
Results. From an analysis of the answers, it emerged that 95.1% of the general practitioners interviewed had at least one of their own patients with a psychiatric diagnosis and/or receiving treatment from major territorial services. 84.6% declared that they had encountered psychiatric emergencies during the six months prior to the study; of these, 39% had been treated personally and 61% in collaboration with external agencies. With regard to the entire span of their professional activities, 69.9% of the general practitioners affirmed trhat they had carried out at least one obligatory health treatment, in most cases in collaboration with the Emergency Psychiatric Unit (41% of cases). 78% of the doctors knew of the existence of the Emergency Psychiatric Unit and 56.9% had contacted the unit at least once; 30.1% had been contacted at least once and 44.7% had carried out at least one intervention in collaboration.
Conclusions. These results show that psychiatric ermergencies involve almost all operators at the primary health care level and that the Emergency Psychiatric Unit can be regarded as a guaranteed and reliable specialist point of reference for cases which cannot be managed directly by the general practitioner.

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