Primary Care Experiences of People with Psychiatric Disabilities: Barriers to Care and Potential Solutions

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This study examined the barriers that 16 focus group participants with psychiatric disabilities confront in obtaining primary care services and their recommendations on improving quality of care. They cited a) difficulty identifying a primary care physician with good empathic and communication skills, b) physicians’ misunderstanding of the nature of psychiatric disability, c) inadequate information about the side effects of psychotropic medications, and d) costs due to inadequate insurance coverage. In addition to suggestions for improving patient-physician communication and expanding physician knowledge, participants emphasized strategies to become empowered in their relationships with physicians and to obtain personal support.

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