Quality Management in Psychiatry Units

Introduction

Many healthcare organizations have psychiatry units to deliver quality care to patients with various behavioral and mental problems. Such hospitals are usually “expected to meet the required standards set by different agencies” (Talbot & Coburn, 2013, p. 12). However, studies have indicated that many psychiatric wards do not offer adequate care to the targeted patients. Antonysamy (2013) argues that “many clients and their families are usually unhappy with the quality of services availed in different psychiatric wards” (p. 7). The ineffectiveness of many psychiatry wards has forced families and patients to embrace the power of Crisis Centers (CCs). Such CCs have become common because they offer accurate and timely care to individuals with various mental health complications. This discussion identifies the issues associated with poor patient care in a psychiatry unit.

Lack of Patient Care

Many patients in different psychiatry units do not receive the best medical support and care. Several factors have contributed to this healthcare issue. Psychiatric patients are “usually unconscious and disoriented during the time of admission” (Singh, Sanderson, Galarneau, Keister, & Hickman, 2013, p. 382). This single fact explains why such individuals might not be aware of the medical services availed to them. Such a scenario results in ineffective patient support. As well, some relatives and family members might not monitor the health services availed to their patients (Noqueira, Laqarto, Cerejeira, Renca, & Firmino, 2013). This gap is widely associated with ineffective patient care in psychiatry units.

Many psychiatry units lack adequate facilities and equipment to improve the quality of medical care. This issue has created a system that is incapable of promoting patient safety (Antonysamy, 2013). Some of the diagnoses conducted by different mental health practitioners are inaccurate. That being the case, the targeted patient might not receive appropriate medical or psychological support. This problem explains why “patient care in such units is usually compromised” (Kaur, Masaun, & Bhatia, 2013, p. 405). Some hospitals have inadequate resources such as beds, drugs, and equipment. This situation continues to affect the quality of care availed to the targeted patients.

Some psychiatry units lack enough caregivers and nurses. This problem is closely associated with the current shortage of healthcare providers. Sometimes a few caregivers will be required to offer the required care to many psychiatric patients. This mismatch will make it impossible for such caregivers to support the needs of every patient. The situation will affect the quality of care availed to different psychiatric patients (Talbot & Coburn, 2013). Many units lack professional psychologists who can support the healing process of every patient. This gap continues to affect the nature and quality of care availed to patients in different psychiatry wards.

Impact of this Problem on the Targeted Patient

The quality of care availed to a patient determines his or her health outcomes. The provision of “inadequate patient support will significantly result in more health problems” (Kaur et al., 2013, p. 407). To begin with, the targeted patient will be unable to get the best health outcomes. Many patients with various psychiatric needs are usually unaware of their health statuses. The absence of “relatives will make it impossible for the targeted patients to get quality psychiatric care” (Antonysamy, 2013, p. 9). This situation makes it impossible for many patients to understand or monitor the quality of health support availed to them.

Talbot and Coburn (2013) state that individuals “admitted in different psychiatry units are usually unwell and mentally unstable” (p. 16). Such individuals might also be physically unstable. Failure to deliver the required care and support will expose the patients to new risks. For instance, such individuals are usually at risk of hurting other patients or even themselves. This argument shows clearly that the absence of adequate care can cause numerous health problems in the targeted unit (Antonysamy, 2013). Such a scenario will make it impossible for the unit to realize its potential.

The patients are also under-supervised throughout their healing processes. This malpractice makes it impossible for the patients to get the best health results. The absence of professional caregivers also affects the nature of support availed to the patient. The “length of stay will also increase significantly” (Kaur et al., 2013, p. 407). This development will also have significant financial implications for the targeted patient. Prolonged hospitalization for psychiatric patients has become a major issue in healthcare. This malpractice makes it hard for other patients to get the best support.

Inadequate care in a psychiatric setting means that the targeted patients might not get the best psychological therapy (Antonysamy, 2013). The “continued use of drugs for patients with specific mental problems and complications might never deliver the best results” (Benolkin, Kinstler, & Delaney, 2015, p. 32). Many psychiatry units have been focusing on different drugs to get the best patient outcomes. Poor patient care in a psychiatry setting, therefore, makes it impossible for many patients to achieve their goals in life.

Quality Improvement Tools

The above problem calls for different strategies and quality improvement (QI) tools to support the health needs of many patients. The “best approach towards dealing with this problem is to have a powerful standard of practice” (Talbot & Coburn, 2013, p. 19). This standard should be implemented as a policy that seeks to support the changing health needs of patients with mental complications. The proposed policy should outline specific procedures and practices that can produce the best outcomes. For instance, psychiatry units should be required to have professional psychologists to support the needs of more patients. The proposed standard of practice “can ensure every patient receives proper psychotherapy and care” (Noqueira et al., 2013, p. 156). The inclusion of different supervisors will ensure the proposed standard of practice is implemented effectively.

The policy should also ensure every hospital unit has adequate resources. Hospitals should have different resources such as “beds, practitioners, nurses, technological devices, and drugs” (Benolkin et al., 2015, p. 32). Such resources will improve the quality of care availed to different patients. Psychotherapists and caregivers should be ready to use such resources whenever supporting the health needs of their patients. As well, proper monitoring practices should be embraced in order to offer personalized support and care to every patient. Mental diseases are usually associated with different symptoms, complications, and phases (Benolkin et al., 2015). Every medical support should be customized to get the best patient outcomes.

Flowchart showing the implementation of the proposed Quality Improvement (QI) strategy
Fig 1: Flowchart showing the implementation of the proposed Quality Improvement (QI) strategy

Several departments and professionals should be involved in the implementation process of the above QI strategy. To begin with, Health Leaders (HLs) in every hospital should appoint a supervisor in every psychiatry unit. The supervisor will be monitoring the procedures, methods, and practices embraced by different caregivers. The supervisor will also be required to collaborate with different caregivers to promote the best outcomes (Noqueira et al., 2013). The HLs should also liaise with the Procurement Department (PD) to ensure every resource is availed promptly. Psychotherapists should also be ready to support their patients. The flowchart presented above shows how different professionals should collaborate to produce the best results. The patients and their family members will also be consulted throughout the process (Noqueira et al., 2013). The Quality Assurance (QA) department will be required to gauge the appropriateness and effectiveness of the QI strategy. Evidence-based concepts should be embraced in order to improve the quality of care (Noqueira et al., 2013). The unit should also embrace new concepts such as teamwork, diversity, collaboration, and life-long learning (Talbot & Coburn, 2013). Such concepts will improve the quality of care availed to every client.

Conclusion

Best Practices and Recommendations

In conclusion, healthcare practices should always maximize the outcomes of every patient (Noqueira et al., 2013). Nurses and caregivers should always be passionate about their careers. They should also be ready to partner with different psychotherapists to get the best patient outcomes. Antonysamy (2013) believes that medical organizations can “motivate their workers using proper incentives, appropriate working conditions, training programs” (p. 12). This evidence-based practice will make it easier for them to provide appropriate care to more patients with mental complications. A proper organizational culture will be needed to support the above QI strategy. The concept of teamwork should be embraced in an attempt to get the best outcomes (Singh et al., 2013). The concept will bring together nurses, psychologists, supervisors, patients, and family members. These best practices can be critical towards improving the quality of care availed to the targeted patients.

Reference List

Antonysamy, A. (2013). How can we reduce violence and aggression in psychiatric inpatient units. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports, 2(1), 1-16.

Benolkin, L., Kinstler, D., & Delaney, K. (2015). Improving Awareness of an Acute Psychiatric Unit’s Capacity for Admission. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 53(8), 30-35.

Kaur, J., Masaun, M., & Bhatia, M. (2013). Role of Physiotherapy in Mental Health Disorders. Delhi Psychiatry Journal, 16(2), 404-408.

Noqueira, V., Laqarto, L., Cerejeira, J., Renca, S., & Firmino, H. (2013). Improving quality of care: focus on liaison old age psychiatry. Mental Health in Family Medicine, 10(3), 153-158.

Singh, K., Sanderson, J., Galarneau, D., Keister, T., & Hickman, D. (2013). Quality Improvement on the Acute Inpatient Psychiatry Unit Using the Model for Improvement. The Ochsner Journal, 13(3), 380-384.

Talbot, J., & Coburn, A. (2013). Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Mental Health Services in Rural Long-Term Care. Maine Rural Health Research Center, 50(1), 1-34.