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To improve foster care, add a psychiatric nurse to treatment team
Date:12/6/2013

nd had an average of eight different diagnoses for psychiatric problems.

"I was able to purge old, outdated or inaccurate diagnoses across cases, which typically reduced the number of diagnoses to an average of two problems," Bertram said. "I also reviewed the medication profiles and recommended changes for two teens one based on side effects and another because the teen was taking greater than maximum recommended doses of medications and multiple medicines without clear benefits."

Case workers described the management of medical information as "ridiculously difficult" and the newly reorganized report as very helpful. One noted that when her patient was hospitalized, she shared the comprehensive document with hospital nurses and doctors so they could deliver better care.

The teens said that the reports answered questions they had about their diagnoses and gave them ammunition to advocate for their own health needs.

"Psychiatric nurses bring a medical and holistic perspective to the treatment team, could navigate medical and co-occurring illnesses, and could support case managers and social workers in the system," Bertram says.

"Psychiatric nurses don't replace the role of social workers or case managers, but complement the treatment team by contributing knowledge of mental health nursing. The needs for the knowledge, skills and understanding of a psychiatric nurse were substantial, and our findings suggest employing psychiatric and mental health nurses is one way to improve fragmented care within the foster care system."


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Contact: Nancy Solomon
solomonn@slu.edu
314-977-8017
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert  

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