News

Clinics failing to screen HIV patients for mental health problems

A National HIV Nurses Association audit has shown some HIV clinics are failing to screen patients for mental health problems
Screening for emotional problems

Many people living with HIV who have mental health problems are being denied support because of a lack psychological screening in HIV clinics, an audit by the National HIV Nurses Association (NHIVNA) has revealed.

The survey, conducted with the British Psychological Society during 2015, found a lack of regular psychological screening and limited documentation of mental health and risk issues in HIV clinics across the UK.

Of the 1,446 case notes reviewed by the NHIVNA in 2015, there was no information regarding a patient's psychological wellbeing in nearly 40% (547) of the cases.

NHIVNA chair Michelle Croston, a specialist nurse at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: 'Research shows that between 40% to 80% of people living with HIV experience some form of mental health problem.

'Despite this, our audit showed that people were either not being asked about their emotional needs, or that it is

Many people living with HIV who have mental health problems are being denied support because of a lack psychological screening in HIV clinics, an audit by the National HIV Nurses Association (NHIVNA) has revealed.

The survey, conducted with the British Psychological Society during 2015, found a lack of regular psychological screening and limited documentation of mental health and risk issues in HIV clinics across the UK.

Of the 1,446 case notes reviewed by the NHIVNA in 2015, there was no information regarding a patient's psychological wellbeing in nearly 40% (547) of the cases.

NHIVNA chair Michelle Croston, a specialist nurse at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: 'Research shows that between 40% to 80% of people living with HIV experience some form of mental health problem.

'Despite this, our audit showed that people were either not being asked about their emotional needs, or that it is not being documented.

‘People living with HIV may experience problems adjusting to living with the disease and the stigmatisation that comes with it. They may feel isolated or have difficulty formulating relationships, so they don’t get the emotional support they need. They may also experience poverty if they can’t work because of physical and psychological difficulties, or because of discrimination by employers.’

The audit follows the 2011 study Standards for Psychological Support for Adults Living with HIV, which highlighted the importance of sufficient psychological support.

In 2014, Public Health England estimated there were 103,700 people living with HIV in the UK. But only a quarter of HIV services had psychological support policies, despite evidence showing a lack of psychological support is detrimental to care.

Further information

Standards for Psychological Support for Adults Living with HIV

 

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