Online first

How do patients perceive ambulatory psychiatric care and what are their needs?

Department of Psychiatry, Medical University, Bialystok, Poland
[b]Abstract Introduction and objective[/b]. The quality of a doctor-patient relationship plays a vital role in all fields of medicine. In the case of psychiatry, this role is special as it provides the foundation for the whole therapeutic process. The aim of this study was to investigate the patient’s perspective on psychiatric visits: patient’s attitudes towards the psychiatrist, patient’s view of the patient-psychiatrist relationship, and the patient’s needs and expectations from this relationship. [b]Materials and method[/b]. 615 psychiatric outpatients responded to the anonymous questionnaires connected with their attitudes towards the psychiatrist, evaluation of the doctor, and expectations from psychiatric care. The study was conducted in 10 out of 30 public centres for psychiatric care in north-eastern Poland. [b]Results.[/b] Generally, the patients liked and positively evaluated their psychiatrists. Patient’s liking for the doctor was connected with the feeling that the doctor also liked the patient, as well as with perceiving the doctor as competent and willing to meet the patient. The longer the treatment with a particular psychiatrist and the rarer need to consult the doctor, the more positive attitude and evaluation of the doctor patients had. According to the patients, the most significant expectations were associated with both conversation with the doctor and receiving emotional support. [b]Conclusions.[/b] The key phase for forming the patient-psychiatrist relationship was the first stage of cooperation in which patients created their attitudes towards the doctor without modifying them at further stages. Thus, further studies on learning and developing the ability to establish the relationship with the patient, inspiring the patient’s trust and making psychiatric appointments comfortable from the first meeting, will be highly valuable