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Keywords:

  • assessment;
  • health education;
  • health promotion;
  • integrative review;
  • intervention;
  • physical illness;
  • serious mental illness

Aims and objectives.  The aim of this paper is to report an integrative review of the literature that focused on innovations aimed at enhancing the physical health of people with serious mental illness.

Background.  Despite the abundance of literature that highlights the relationship between serious mental illness and physical ill health, the provision of physical health care for the seriously mental ill remains a challenge. Many different strategies have been developed, which endeavour to address the poor physical health of people with serious mental illness. However, there is inadequate evidence to establish the success of these strategies.

Design.  Integrative literature review.

Method.  The review was conducted using an adapted version of Whittemore and Knafl’s review method to critically appraise and evaluate the literature.

Results.  Three main themes derived for the types of intervention in the studies emerged from the review. These included assessment, health education/health promotion and multimodal interventions.

Conclusion.  Although there is some evidence to demonstrate that health assessments are effective in highlighting physical health problems, the evidence to support health education and multimodal interventions is far from conclusive. Further research is needed, in particular larger intervention and longitudinal studies, to help nurses decide on the best possible interventions that will improve the physical health of the seriously mentally ill.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Whilst nurses’ continued attempts to develop health-enhancing interventions are commendable, there needs to be a greater focus on conducting research to develop the evidence base to guide and support nurses in this area of their practice. Until robust and convincing evidence is available, policy relating to the advancement of the physical health of people with serious mental illness should be developed cautiously.