Health Care of Patients with Mental Impairments in Styria from a Family Practitioner’s Perspective
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2018.0214-0218PDF german translation / full article
Background: Family practitioners represent a substantial share of the considerable responsibility involved in providing medical care to patients with mental impairments. In this article, the medical care of patients with a congenital or early-acquired mental impairment is examined in more detail from the perspective of family practitioners.Methods: Using a self-developed questionnaire, the survey was undertaken in family practices in the Austrian state of Styria.Results: 43 family practitioners participated in the survey. All of them felt that they were the primary point of contact for people with a mental impairment and their relatives. Most of the family practitioners (84 %) treated each quarter up to 20 patients with such impairments. 58 % of the family practitioners said the workload associated with treating mentally impaired patients is relatively high. Education and training in the treatment of patients with a mental impairment was rarely available either at university, as a trainee doctor, or while practicing family medicine. Most family practitioners said they felt comfortable with communicating and dealing with patients with mental impairments.Conclusions: To our knowledge this study is the first to provide insights into the care of patients with mental impairments by family doctors in Styria. The small number of family practitioners that have been trained to deal with patients with mental impairments is, however, sobering.