Quality psychiatric care is one of the most significant, and often undermined, aspects of holistic healthcare. As awareness about mental health grows, so too does the appreciation of and need for complex and compassionate approaches to treatment.
In this guide, we outline six key strategies for improving psychiatric patient care that foster an environment of better mental well-being and overall individual health.
Active Listening and Empathy
The foundation of all meaningful psychiatric relationships is built on active listening and empathy. Online mental health nurse practitioner programs emphasize these vital skills as they are the cornerstone to improving the effectiveness of psychiatric care. These skills underpin all the other strategies for enhancing psychiatric patient care that we’ll be discussing.
Active listening is the practice of not only listening to a patient’s narrative but, also seeking to understand it. Empathetic understanding is crucial in helping psychiatric patients feel valued and heard and in fostering trust between patients and professionals.
A few practical tips for practicing active listening and empathy include:
- Maintaining eye contact
- Affirmative nodding
- Encouraging verbal cues
Active listening and empathy are aimed at helping psychiatric patients feel as though they are not simply being heard. Their emotions are shared and their experiences are acknowledged and respected.
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In the realm of healthcare, psychiatric care is unique because there is a strong need for individualized care. The brain is the organ that is least understood, but we do know that it is highly complex and idiosyncratic.
There are, however, a few factors that you can consider when individualizing care. These external factors are easier to understand and grapple with than the complexity of the brain.
A patient’s personal history, cultural background, and lifestyle choices all contribute to shaping their profile and their personal care strategies. Each patient presents a unique case. Understanding the many interconnected factors at play in each case is the key to unraveling co-occurring cases. It also serves as a constant reminder of the diversity of human experience.
Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals
The landscape of psychiatric healthcare is constantly changing as new research emerges that outlines improved methods of care. A multidisciplinary approach, that is often made more effective with healthcare software tools, is a pivotal part of holistic healthcare.
Psychiatric patient care is a highly complex and nuanced field. So, the collaboration of professionals across various specialties brings together diverse perspectives and enhances the quality of care.
When psychiatric nurses work together with psychologists and physicians, it is a lot easier to ensure a more thorough understanding of a patient’s needs. They can then better formulate comprehensive treatment plans.
All of these benefits are only further aided through constant communication. Regularly scheduled team meetings and shared decision-making are two factors that can contribute to better patient outcomes. A unified healthcare front can have a life-changing impact.
Integration of Evidence-Based Practices
Healthcare, perhaps more so than other industries, requires a commitment to integrating evidence-based practices into common practice. As touched on above, research in the medical, and particularly psychiatric, world is constantly developing.
This means that in order to ensure the most up-to-date and effective care, professionals need to be consistently learning and adapting their practices.
Evidence-based practices span a broad spectrum from cognitive-behavioral therapies to pharmacological interventions. One common example is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is widely known for its effectiveness in treating depression and anxiety.
Staying knowledgeable about the latest evidence-based practices is incredibly beneficial. Healthcare professionals can empower patients to the best of their ability while also contributing to the continued growth of psychiatric care.
Support for Co-Occurring Conditions
Navigating psychiatric care can be a delicate challenge. It becomes even more complex when patients are grappling with co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions, including those related to addictive substances. Working with these patients often requires a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to ensure that different treatment plans do not undermine each other.
Healthcare professionals must integrate mental health care with physical medical treatment. Psychiatric nurses need to coordinate with medical care professionals through regular communication on integrated treatment plans that focus on patient education.
When patients with co-occurring conditions are treated with a collaborative effort then, not only are immediate issues addressed, but long-term stability is encouraged.
Empowerment and Education
One of the biggest tests of the effectiveness of psychiatric care is the well-being of patients after they are discharged. Educating and empowering patients will help them to feel more confident and in control of their lives once they leave the safety of psychiatric care.
Healthcare professionals can help educate and empower their patients by:
- Being transparent in their communication with their patients
- Helping their patients set achievable and realistic goals
- Encouraging an open and nonjudgemental dialogue about concerns and preferences their patients might have
However, education extends beyond the healthcare facility. There are many different support groups, informative websites, and community workshops that help to educate and empower patients. These resources provide invaluable information that a clinical setting’s formal nature misses.