Clinicians working together for better outcomes: Multidisciplinary care

Melissa Ree Uncategorized

Our mission at J&R Clinical Psychology is ‘helping you thrive’.

We carry the ethos of ‘helping you thrive’ through all that we do, from how we work with our clients, our team, and our fellow professionals and referrers.

J&R clinical psychology are taking the exciting step of offering our services within a brand new (and very lovely) GP clinic in Murdoch: The Garden Medical Clinic. This feels really positive as it means we can be a little more accessible to clients who live or work in Perth’s southern suburbs.

This development also affords us a wonderful opportunity to work more closely with a group of like-minded GPs who work with children, adults and families, and who are passionate about mental health.

Multidisciplinary care is when different types of healthcare providers work together collaboratively to look after a person’s varied needs. It’s especially important when a patient requires more than one type of treatment at a time. For example, it’s a patient might need to take medication, make some lifestyle changes and engage in psychological therapy for best results.

GPs are the cornerstone of patient care. They often care for and know their patients over a long period of time and they make referrals to other healthcare professionals when necessary. When GPs and professionals from other disciplines regularly communicate about their patients and work together, evidence suggests that this can lead to improved outcomes. Unfortunately, this can be tricky when health professionals work in different settings and on different schedules.

Being co-located means that clinic GPs, nurses, and psychologists can communicate quickly, regularly, and effectively, building close working relationships in order to improve patient care. It also means that patients often only need to visit the one clinic, which may make attending appointments easier.

Multidisciplinary care can often be important in the management of mental health concerns, and research supports that having psychogists in GP clinics can facilitate care. Data confirms that mental health difficulties are very common in GP clinic visits. Stress plays a role in about 70% of patients visiting their GP. Other mental health presentations (e.g., depression & anxiety) play a role in about 40% of GP visits.

Most mental health presentations are managed at the GP clinic level, without being referred on to a psychiatry or psychology clinic. GPs, however, don’t always have the capacity to provide therapy, which is the preferred form of treatment for most patients (research suggests therapy is preferred over medication in about 75% of patients).  So, we can see that there is a strong role for psychologists in GP clinics.

 It’s common for a psychologist working in a GP clinic to support childrena nd adults experiencing mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress, or insomnia. A psychologist can also support with adjusting to chronic illness, relatipnship difficulties or lifestyle factors such as poor sleep, lack of exercise, or trouble adhering to medical treatment. It’s also common for a psychologist to support children who are experiencing behavioural concerns, anxiety, family or friendship difficulties, poor sleep, or troubles at school.

By working with patients a psychologist can provide evidence-based treatments for a range of mental health concerns, and also with the techniques that patients may need to follow the GP’s treatment plan. For example, a GP may encourage you to increase your exercise, stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake, or take medications on a certain schedule. These changes can be challenging and many people benefit from psychological support to get the best outcomes. More and more, GPs are working with patients to establish healthier lifestyles. We often refer to ‘SNAP risks’ to describe important lifestyle behaviours that can make a huge difference to physical and mental health.

Working with SNAP Risks: what are these?

SNAP risks are lifestyle behaviours that significantly increase the risk of developing a range of physical health concerns such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The SNAP risks are:

S: SMOKING

N: Poor NUTRITION

A: ALCOHOL USE

P: Low levels of PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

(S: SLEEP) – We believe that’s important to add sleep health to the SNAP risks above as there is very strong evidence that good sleep health supports good physical and mental health. 

The J&R clinical psychology team have specific training and experience in working with sleep difficulties as well as mental health concerns.

We look forward to helping you thrive in your mental and physical health at The Garden!

Anne, Simon, and Yashi, are our first clinical psychologists consulting at The Garden, Murdoch. These warm and caring clinicians each see children (age 6+) as well as teens and adults. They each have 6 years of formal university training, including a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology.

Appointments for psychology @The Garden can be made using our usual contact details.

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