International Journal of Mental Health Systems vol:3 issue:1
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Within the context of a biopsychosocial model of the treatment of depressive episodes, a multidisciplinary approach is needed. Clinical pathways have been developed and implemented in hospitals to support multidisciplinary teamwork. The aim of this study is to explore current practice for the treatment of depressive episodes in Flemish psychiatric hospitals. Current practice in different hospitals is studied to get an idea of the similarities (outlined as a pathway) and the differences in the treatment of depressive episodes. METHODS: A convenience sample of 11 Flemish psychiatric hospitals participated in this qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with different types of health care professionals (n = 43). The websites of the hospitals were searched for information on their approach to treating depressive episodes. RESULTS: A flow chart was made including the identified stages of the pathway: pre-admission, admission (observation and treatment), discharge and follow-up care. The characteristics of each stage are described. Although the stages are identified in all hospitals, differences between hospitals on various levels of the pathway exist. Hospitals emphasized the individual approach of each patient. The results point to a biopsychosocial approach to treating depressive episodes. CONCLUSION: This study outlined current practice as a pathway for Flemish inpatients with depressive episodes. Within the context of surveillance of quality and quantity of care, this study may encourage hospitals to consider developing clinical pathways.