3 percent of the welfare population surveyed, and was twice as frequent in women as in men.
Because of changes in the Australian health care system, many people are using emergency rooms as the point of access for treatment of their mental health problems (Harrison 2004, pp.21-29). However, the staff in such facilities are not always competent to deal with such problems. This has led to the development of multidisciplinary mental health liaison teams within the emergency department of one hospital in Sydney to deal with such cases. Until such teams and services are available in all hospitals, the social worker may still be the first contact a patient such as Elsie has with someone who can direct them to appropriate treatment venues for their mental health problems.
Studies in England have shown that psychiatric patients seem to fare better under community care than when hospitalized (Merson et al 2004, pp.1311-1314). Patients referred to community services showed greater improvement in symptoms and were more satisfied with the services they received than those who received treatment in a hospital-based service. Patients treated in hospitals spent more days as psychiatric hospital inpatients as those treated in community based services. Patients prefer to be treated in community-based services and early-intervention to put patients into a community setting seems to be beneficial.
Home care services for psychiatric patients are