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A systematic review of nurse physical healthcare for consumers utilizing mental health services

Authors

  • B. Happell RN RPN BA (Hons) Dip Ed B Ed M Ed PhD,

    Engaged Research Chair in Mental Health Nursing, Director, Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Mental Health Nursing Innovation, Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Qld, Australia
    2. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Central Queensland University, Qld, Australia
    • Correspondence:

      B. Happell

      Central Queensland University

      Bruce Hwy

      Rockhampton

      Qld 4702

      Australia

      E-mail: b.happell@cqu.edu.au

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  • C. Platania-Phung BA (Hons),

    Research Fellow
    1. Centre for Mental Health Nursing Innovation, Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Qld, Australia
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  • D. Scott BHM (Hons) PhD

    Post-doctoral Research Fellow
    1. Centre for Mental Health Nursing Innovation, Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Qld, Australia
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Abstract

Accessible summary

  • The poor physical health of people with serious mental illness presents a long-term public health issue that mental healthcare services, and their most representative group (nurses), can help address.
  • For purposes of long-term planning in increasing the role of nurses in physical healthcare within mental healthcare services a systematic review was conducted of services and programmes where nurses conduct physical healthcare (such as physical health checks and health education).
  • The most common types of physical healthcare represented in the literature were health education, screening, lifestyle programme delivery and co-ordination of care.
  • Although evaluation of the programmes reviewed were all at a preliminary stage, they consistently demonstrated health benefits for consumers.

Abstract

People with serious mental illness have higher rates of physical illness and are more likely to experience premature death than the general population. Nurse-led strategies to improve physical healthcare in mental healthcare services could potentially reduce these inequalities. However the extent of nurse involvement in physical healthcare (such as physical risk screening, health education and care co-ordination) in mental health settings is not known. A systematic review was conducted on nurse-led physical healthcare reported for consumers with serious mental illness (SMI) in mental health services, and their benefits. Electronic literature bases (CINAHL, Proquest, PsychINFO and Web of Science) were systematically searched, in conjunction with a manual search of literature reviews on physical healthcare in mental health services. Articles were included if they: (a) were published in the last 10 years; (b) were English language; (c) involved physical healthcare of adult consumers receiving mental healthcare services; and (d) reported nurse involvement in physical healthcare. Forty articles were included in the review. The distribution of types of care were: health education (47%), screening and/or monitoring (33.3%), care co-ordination and management (33.3%), lifestyle programme delivery (30.5%), follow-up actions to screening results (25%) and registers and data administration (5.5%). Overall, the evaluation of nurse-based physical healthcare is in early stages. Thus far, they appear to have positive implications for consumers with SMI.

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