Consultation/liaison psychiatrists care for people with co-existing medical and psychologic difficulties. The coronavirus pandemic is stressful for patients and their psychiatric caregivers. Patients have lost support systems and harbor fears about exposing family to the virus. COVID-19 sometimes exacerbates previous psychiatric conditions, while diminishing intimacy with physicians. Everyone is oversaturated with COVID-19-related news focusing on rising concerns about the illness and about jobs, school, and housing insecurities.
The psychiatrist maintains a hospital presence despite fear of contracting the disease. Challenges include addressing staff morale, evidencing empathy despite telecommunication devices, and treating anxiety, depression, sleep phobias, post intubation flashbacks, COVID-19-induced cognitive disorders, and/or drug and alcohol addiction or withdrawal. They also provide support to patients who otherwise would die alone. The consultant must value small clinical successes, debrief beleaguered colleagues, offer support to hospital staff, and deliver psychotherapies to bolster patient comfort and autonomy. They prescribe pharmacotherapies that address psychiatric concerns without adversely affecting medical conditions. To decrease professional burnout from COVID-19-related issues, psychiatrists should attend to self-care and precautions designed to maintain the safety of their family.
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Frierson, Robert and Lippmann, Steven B
"Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry During Covid-19,"
The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections: Vol. 5
, Article 33.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jri/vol5/iss1/33
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