Nursing processes used in the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder


Mr Peter J.J. Goossens, Adhesie GGZ Midden-Overijssel, Nico Bolkesteinlaan 1, 7400 GC Deventer, the Netherlands. Email:


ABSTRACT:  Psychiatric nurses are increasingly being involved in the provision of care for outpatients with bipolar disorder. The establishment of a body of knowledge for the nursing of these patients is vital for the development of integrated evidence-based treatment. The literature for the period January 1980 to January 2006 is reviewed. A sensitive literature search included not only the nursing care based on research results but also nursing care based on experiences acquired by practising nurses. The results show that formal research on the nursing of patients with a bipolar disorder is remarkably limited. Three quantitative studies were identified in five articles and six qualitative studies addressing a broad range of topics. The remainder of articles meeting the inclusion criteria contained mostly descriptive reports. An overview is presented of the nursing processes used during the euthymic stage of a bipolar disorder and during an acute episode of (hypo)mania. No specific nursing processes for acute episodes of bipolar depression are described in the literature. The results show hardly any evidence for the described nursing processes.