Background and Objective: Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (C-LP) services, an important aspect of every general hospital has wide variations in their pattern of services being utilized. Studies in this area are mostly conducted in northern states of India. Our study aims to see the pattern of inpatient referrals to the department of psychiatry in a tertiary hospital in South India.
Material and Methods: One hundred and seventeen inpatient referrals to the Department of Psychiatry of a tertiary care hospital in Puducherry over a period of six months were included for the study. Informed consent was taken. Information about sociodemographic profiles was collected. Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI-PLUS), a semi-structured diagnostic interview tool was administered for psychiatric diagnosis.
Results: The inpatient referral rate was 1.50%. Evaluation of para-suicide was the commonest reason for referral (36.7%), followed by depressive symptoms (12.8%), alcohol related problems (12.8%), and abnormal behaviour (10.3%). Psychiatric diagnosis was found in 86% of cases referred; 41% had multiple psychiatric diagnoses. Deliberate Self-harm (DSH) was present in 28% and depressive disorder in 22% of cases. Gastro-intestinal disorders (12%), infectious disorders (11%) and cardiovascular disorders (9%) were the commonest medical diagnoses in the population. Department of Medicine had the highest referral rate; however referrals from most departments were very low.
Conclusion: The study depicts a low referral rate which can be attributed to the lack of knowledge and high rate of stigma of psychiatric disorders. Thus, there is an urgent need to strengthen the existing C-LP services and screen for psychiatric disorders in non-psychiatric inpatients.