The assessment is a patient with mental illness should entail a comprehensive cover of his or her general medical condition, the psychiatric history associated with the patient, and a mental status assessment. The general medical examination should be conducted only if the patient is in a position to answer the required questions. If the patient cannot reply to the questions, a family member or the associated caregiver should provide the relevant information.
Psychiatric history may be retrieved from the health care system database after acquiring the conventional medical information about the patient. It may be given by the caregivers. One must have the objectivity to look into factors that might place the patient at risk. The nurse should first understand why the patient needed to acquire health care services. This should be followed by establishing whether the patient portrays any behavioural symptoms that might put him or her at risk if he or she is left alone.
This could include emotional responses and social behaviour. It is equally important to review the life events of the patient to establish the risk factors that might be associated with his or her case. The potential of a patient being at risk of hurting himself or others should be highlighted in the assessment report. If the patient is in danger, I would recommend his isolation into a room where he cannot hurt himself or any other person (Liu, 2014).
Diagnosing mental illness entails conducting a mental examination and other subsequent tests that may help in isolating a singular condition. The mental examination for a mentally ill patient begins with a keen observation of the general appearance of the patient. The general appearance may hint at whether the patient is at risk of himself or herself. For instance, a patient with numerous injuries on the face, body odour, and unkempt hair may indicate being a risk to himself. Speech tests play an important role in the process of diagnosing a mentally ill patient because they give the nurse a lead on the most probable illnesses.
For instance, a patient with depression talks softly, whereas a patient with mania talks loudly. A patient with a brain injury may also fail to coordinate his speech; hence, the speech test must be conducted. An emotional test should also help in identifying the illness. The patient’s perception and cognitive abilities should also be tested. A professional physician in mental health should be included in the diagnostic process. For instance, for a patient with schizophrenia, the psychological evaluation would confirm the disorder. The diagnosis of the disorder follows the DSM guidelines, which dictate that physicians should conduct tests that eliminate other mental disorders.
The symptoms associated with schizophrenia include delusions, uncoordinated speech, hallucinations, and confusion (Liu, 2014). The patient must portray delusion or hallucinations for the physicians to single out schizophrenia, and additional tests should be conducted to ensure the symptoms are not caused by drugs. A patient portraying hallucinations could be at risk of having schizophrenia or it could be the effect of drug abuse. This means that, unlike other illnesses, mental disorders are diagnosed after a given period of evaluating the symptoms.
Planning for treatment and control of mental disorders in patients should be based on the individual needs of the patients. This approach is preferred in the profession because different patients with similar mental illnesses require different treatment plans. For instance, for a patient diagnosed with schizophrenia, the plan should cover three major elements of treatment and care. These elements include the elimination of the symptoms, helping the patient to enhance his or her emotions and physical wellness status, and the control of the effects of the illness. The plan should be objective, and it should also highlight a timeline where the expected results should be attained.
Symptoms portrayed by the patient should help in the development of the most appropriate treatment modality for the patient. The selected plan should include safety precautions such as regular monitoring of the improvements of the patient is required. The nurse should ensure the relevant medications are administered in time. The care environment should be free of objects that might harm or be used by the patient to harm others (Kanerva, Lammintakanen & Kivinen, 2013).
When implementing a treatment and care plan for a patient with schizophrenia, it is important to involve the entire team working on the patient in the development of a safe environment. The patient is likely to develop behavioural responses that might need an emergency response from the nursing team; hence, I would recommend the patient to receive antipsychotic drugs alongside counselling to help him evade suicidal thoughts and other negative perceptions. The patient should not be accountable for his drug-taking. The drugs must be administered by the nurse for safety (Pestka et al., 2012).
The objectives in the treatment and care plan would help establish the success or failure of the safety measures implemented. The level of wellness attained by the patient within the set time for the evaluation would also highlight the need to continue with the plan or to make changes. Some of the changes would include changes in the treatment and care environment, medications, and frequency of therapy sessions.
Kanerva, A., Lammintakanen, J., & Kivinen, T. (2013). Patient safety in psychiatric inpatient care: a literature review. Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing, 20(6), 541-548.
Liu, J. (2014). Balancing therapeutic safety and efficacy to improve clinical and economic outcomes in schizophrenia: a managed care perspective. The American journal of managed care, 20(8), s174-s183.
Pestka, E. L., Hatteberg, D. A., Larson, L. A., Zwygart, A. M., Cox, D. L., & Borgen Jr, E. E. (2012). Enhancing safety in behavioral emergency situations. Medsurg nursing: official journal of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, 21(6), 335-341.