Introducing extended consultations for patients with severe mental illness in general practice: Results from the SOFIA feasibility study

A. B. R. Jønsson, F. H. J. Martiny*, M. K. Søndergaard, John Brandt Brodersen, Tina Drud Due, M. H. Nielsen, C. Bakkedal, J. E. Bardram, K. Bissenbakker, I. Christensen, K. Doherty, P. Kjellberg, S. W. Mercer, S. Reventlow, M. P. Rozing, Anne Møller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: People with a severe mental illness (SMI) have shorter life expectancy and poorer quality of life compared to the general population. Most years lost are due to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and various types of cancer. We co-designed an intervention to mitigate this health problem with key stakeholders in the area, which centred on an extended consultations for people with SMI in general practice. This study aimed to1) investigate general practitioners’ (GPs) experience of the feasibility of introducing extended consultations for patients with SMI, 2) assess the clinical content of extended consultations and how these were experienced by patients, and 3) investigate the feasibility of identification, eligibility screening, and recruitment of patients with SMI. 

Methods: The study was a one-armed feasibility study. We planned that seven general practices in northern Denmark would introduce extended consultations with their patients with SMI for 6 months. Patients with SMI were identified using practice medical records and screened for eligibility by the patients’ GP. Data were collected using case report forms filled out by practice personnel and via qualitative methods, including observations of consultations, individual semi-structured interviews, a focus group with GPs, and informal conversations with patients and general practice staff. 

Results: Five general practices employing seven GPs participated in the study, which was terminated 3 ½ month ahead of schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. General practices attempted to contact 57 patients with SMI. Of these, 38 patients (67%) attended an extended consultation, which led to changes in the somatic health care plan for 82% of patients. Conduct of the extended consultations varied between GPs and diverged from the intended conduct. Nonetheless, GPs found the extended consultations feasible and, in most cases, beneficial for the patient group. In interviews, most patients recounted the extended consultation as beneficial. 

Discussion: Our findings suggest that it is feasible to introduce extended consultations for patients with SMI in general practice, which were also found to be well-suited for eliciting patients’ values and preferences. Larger studies with a longer follow-up period could help to assess the long-term effects and the best implementation strategies of these consultations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number206
JournalBMC Primary Care
Volume24
Number of pages15
ISSN2731-4553
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5. Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Extended consultations
  • Feasibility studies
  • General practice
  • Patient-centred care
  • Primary care
  • Qualitative methods
  • Severe mental illness
  • Pandemics
  • Mental Disorders/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Feasibility Studies
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • General Practice
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation

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