Providing Physical Care to Persons With Serious Mental Illness: Attitudes, Confidence, Barriers and Psychological Empowerment

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The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in people with serious mental illness (SMI) has been well documented in the mental health literature. Despite the adoption of various guidelines for monitoring risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular risk in this population, limited translation has occurred in actual practice (Hermes, Sernyak, & Rosenheck, 2013). The Institute of Medicine (IoM) (2009) has noted a lag time in the application of knowledge within clinical settings. Evidence-based practice was deemed as a means of improving healthcare outcomes through the use of science supported standards of care. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a process to guide clinical decision making that involves the clinician's experience, well documented research findings, and the patient's values and choices (Sackett, Rosenberg, Gray, Haynes, & Richardson, 1996). The IoM has established that by the year 2020, 90% of clinical decisions should be based upon current and scientifically based information (IoM, 2009). Psychiatric-mental health nurses are challenged to utilize EBP for clients with MetS in assessing their health status and discussing the findings, educating them about their current risk and life style modifications to mitigate risk, and finally, partnering with them to maximize health and quality of life.

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