Evaluation of physical health in an in-patient psychiatric rehabilitation setting

Alastair Cockburn, Andrew Watson, Debbie Mountain, Stephen M Lawrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: The mortality gap between patients with and without serious mental illness (SMI) is around 15-20 years. Here, we aim to identify some of the factors contributing to that gap via poor physical health and sub-optimal medical management.

METHODS: We report the results of a detailed cross-sectional study of physical health parameters in an in-patient rehabilitation population in Scotland, including a consideration of concordance with guidelines and comparisons to healthy populations.

RESULTS: Data was collected from 57 of all 62 in-patients. 42% were obese (compared to 28% of the population), 84% were smokers (vs 16%), 16% were hypertensive, 22% had raised HbA1c, 50% had raised cholesterol, 47% had QRISK >10%. 68% agreed to a full physical health review, 65% agreed to flu vaccination. Completed screening uptake compared to the Scottish population was low: Cervical (30% vs 69%), Bowel (8% vs 64%), Breast (23% vs 72%), Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (0% vs 78%). Patients generally had up to date recorded weight (100%), blood pressure (98.2%), heart rate (98.2%) and lipids (89.4%), but not ECG's (61.4%) or Diabetes screening (59.6%). Following review, 17 referrals were made to medics/surgeons, 29 to broader specialties, 24 medications were started, 9 stopped and 27 changed: most commonly statins (12 patients), vitamin D (8 patients) and hypoglycemics (5 patients).

CONCLUSIONS: The findings highlight cardiovascular risk factors and cancer screening as specific areas to target for improving poor physical health in populations with SMI. Patients are often willing to engage but specific ways to lower the barriers to screening and treatment are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-329
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Early online date8 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Cancer screening
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • In-patient rehabilitation psychiatry
  • Physical health
  • Severe mental illness


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