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SMHSOP - Consultation / Liaison

What it is

Consultation/liaison models provide specialist older people’s mental health advice and support for staff and teams in hospital settings who are primarily responsible for the care of the patient. Priority is given to people within geriatric wards, existing consumers of SMHSOP services or consumers within adult mental health services.

How it works

Consultation/liaison services can include assessment, referral and training with other service providers or teams. The core role of SMHSOP consultation/liaison involves assisting in the management of patients known to the service and in supporting staff of adult mental health and geriatric medical wards in supporting older people with mental health disorders, In some areas, additional roles are also a component of consultation liaison. A lesser resourced consultation-liaison model would involve the consultation service providing advice regarding management of individual patients.

In a more developed model, the liaison element is further established where there is joint development of capacity between the consultation/liaison team and identified services (such as geriatrics). Examples of joint capacity building work include the development of relevant protocols, joint case conferencing, or ‘Grand Rounds’.  There is strong evidence for consultation/liaison in reducing length of stay and some evidence for the effectiveness of SMHSOP consultation/liaison services in medical wards, particularly in relation to recognition of and treatment outcomes for depression.


Psychiatrist or old age psychiatrist and nursing.

Success factors

  • Role clarity
  • Allocated time
  • Development of capacity to incorporate liaison activities into service.

Models in practice

  • Predominately in metropolitan services - early stages of development.
  • BPSD Grand Rounds – Central Coast LHD (SMHSOP service)