The life expectancy of people living with mental illness is significantly shorter than that of the rest of the population. Despite the profound impact of physical health issues on both quality of life and life expectancy, the perspectives of mental health consumers have yet to be thoroughly explored. Furthermore, research has focused far more on describing barriers than on identifying solutions. This paper reports on findings from a qualitative exploratory research study, with the aim to examine the potential role of a specialist nurse with advanced physical health-care skills. Focus groups were conducted with 31 consumers. Data were analysed thematically. The concept of a role like this was supported; however, participants stressed: (i) the importance of integration between health professionals and various components of the health-care system; and (ii) the need for culture change for nurses to work from a less medically-dominated approach. Previous research literature suggests that a nursing position dedicated to physical health care and coordination might produce positive outcomes for mental health consumers. The findings from the current research project emphasize the need for consumers to be identified as key stakeholders in a solution-focused approach to improved physical health care for mental health consumers.
HAPPELL, B., PLATANIA-PHUNG, C., BOCKING, J., Griffiths, K., SCHOLZ, B., & Stanton, R. (2016). Embedding a physical health nurse consultant within mental health services: Consumers’ perspectives. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 25(4), 377-384. https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12185