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Psychosomatics. 2000 Nov-Dec;41(6):505-11.

Timing of psychiatric consultations: the impact of social vulnerability and level of psychiatric dysfunction.

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Psychiatry Service, Vrije Universiteit Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The authors examined the timing of patient referrals to a psychiatric consultation-liaison service in relation to the patient's social vulnerability and level of psychiatric dysfunction. One hundred consecutive patients were assessed with the INTERMED, a method to document biopsychosocial and health care-related aspects of disease. Although 30% of patients were referred within the first day of admission, 19% of requests for referrals were made after 2 weeks. Late referral was associated with high social vulnerability and early referral with severe psychiatric dysfunction. The authors illustrate the disadvantages of a psychiatric liaison model focusing on psychopathology alone and demonstrate the need for an integrated patient assessment in the general hospital, focusing on detecting frail elderly patients.

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