Organisation and timeline of measures in French psychiatric establishments during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic: EvOlu’Psy study

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Abstract

Background: The onset of COVID-19 required rapid organisational changes in the mental health domain. Most mental health-care departments appear to have set up infection control measures and also organised planning, coordination and measures that enabled them to provide psychiatric care in a restrictive environment. Our objective was to assess the organisation by psychiatric facilities in France of their response to COVID-19, during the first wave. Methods: In June 2020, a cross-sectional study was performed by an audit with 48 items which was proposed to 331 hospitals in metropolitan France with a capacity for full-time, that is, inpatient psychiatric hospitalisation of adults. Results: Of the 331 establishments contacted, 94 (28.4%) agreed to respond to the survey questionnaire. Full-time inpatient hospitalisation was completely or partially maintained by 94.7% (n = 89) of facilities. Specific measures concerning respect for patients’ rights were reported by 58% (n = 55) of establishments. Overall, 74.5% (n = 70) had set up a dedicated channel of care for patients at risk of severe COVID-19, and 52.1% (n = 49) a system for routine screening at admission for these risk factors. Nearly half the establishments (48.9%, n = 46) reported they had set up specific training programmes for patients about barrier measures and social distancing. Conclusions: French psychiatric establishments on the whole were able to provide a necessary reorganisation of their management of patients and their families, regardless of facility status. Patients’ rights nonetheless seem to have not received the attention they merited during the early pandemic period. Somatic management of patients with mental illness must absolutely be improved.

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Legrand, G., Boisgard, C., Canac, B., Cardinaud, Z., Gorla, M. G., Gregoire, E., … Vaury, P. (2021). Organisation and timeline of measures in French psychiatric establishments during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic: EvOlu’Psy study. BMC Psychiatry, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03293-0

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