People with a mental illness are more susceptible to physical ill health than the general population, which leads to significantly higher mortality rates among this group. Reasons for this include lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet. Inadequate knowledge and skills about physical health among mental health nurses can lead to uncoordinated care and inadequate access to physical health services for people with mental ill health. This article aims to guide nurses to make initial holistic assessments with specific focus on areas of greatest physical disparity: dental health, eye conditions, sexual and reproductive health, smoking, drugs and alcohol, and metabolic syndrome. Relevant screening tools and health resources are explored. If nurses carry out holistic assessments as a basis for care, make appropriate referrals and deliver timely health promotion, physical health outcomes for people with mental illness will improve.
Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1334Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated softwareConflict of interest
Tranter S, Robertson M (2019) Improving the physical health of people with a mental illness: holistic nursing assessments. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1334
Published online: 11 June 2019
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