This study, carried out in the geriatric clinic of a Montreal hospital, provides information concerning what happens when a primary care physician refers a patient for a consultation with a geriatric psychiatrist. The current emphasis in Quebec on community-based health care (le virage ambulatoire) calls for hospital resources to play a consulting role; however, the researchers’ literature search found no effective model of this interaction for geriatric patients. The geriatric consultation process included the views of the patient and family, the referring physician, and the consulting psychiatrist. Although most patients and primary care physicians were satisfied, there was only moderate agreement among primary care physicians and consultants as to the type of consultation requested, the reason for consultation, and the responsibility for further treatment. The report highlights some of the problems encountered in the consultation process and suggests simple ways to improve communication and thus improve patient care.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.