Medical assessment of mental health patients

Summary

The purpose of the medical assessment of mental health patients is to:

a) determine whether the behavioural disturbance is caused by a 'physical' (medical) illness or injury

b) to ensure that disposition is appropriate (i.e. the presentation is primarily psychiatric and the patient is physiologically stable)

Source: Dr Sue Ieraci, Physical Screening of the Mental Health Patient, Presentation: Emergency Care Symposium 2011

It does not guarantee against acute changes or future exacerbations of chronic illness and should not be represented as such. It is a single point in time screen to rule out acute physical conditions requiring immediate treatment.

The assessment form has been developed for use in emergency departments to support the medical assessment of mental health patients.

The supporting evidence document outlines some of the latest evidence available on the physical assessment of mental health patients in the emergency department as well as providing useful links.

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