Results of a Polish national survey - physician's opinions on the physical health of schizophrenic patients
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Psychiatr Pol 2009;43(6):761-773
Aim. In view of the fact that schizophrenia is a disorder increasing the risk of mortality and development of somatic disturbances, the presented Study was undertaken with the aim to analyse to what extent psychiatrists assess the somatic condition of their patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Method. The participants of a nationwide study ordered by Bristol-Myers Squibb and carried out by a survey agency were 404 physicians. The study was based on a specially devised questionnaire, administered to doctors in June and July 2009. Responses from 184 psychiatry specialists were obtained during the conference Psychiatry 2009 held in Krakow, whereas the remaining respondents were questioned at their workplaces. The questionnaire consisted of ten questions concerning various aspects of somatic health, control of health parameters and effects of pharmacological treatment on the condition of schizophrenic patients. Results. The majority (73.05%) of the respondents were found to consider the somatic condition of their patients as important or very important. In the opinion of 70.54% of the physicians, metabolic disturbances were the most significant aspect of somatic health. Doctors in private practice paid more attention to sexual and endocrine system dysfunctions than those employed in hospital wards. Most psychiatrists performed physical examinations and checked laboratory parameters almost on every visit. Conclusions. The questioned physicians appreciate the importance of somatic condition assessment in schizophrenic patients and check the important laboratory parameters regularly. Taking into account the essence of the problem, establishing closer cooperation in this area with first-contact physicians should be considered. In view of definitely positive opinions expressed by psychiatrists, concerning their involvement in the evaluation of the somatic condition of schizophrenic patients, asking the patients themselves whether that meets their needs in this respect would render the obtained results more objective.
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