Activity 30.6: Critical thinking (online only)

Collaborative care: what systems are in place to provide psychological support for patients with chronic illness?

There are many potential sources of psychological support for patients, but not all will be available within your local area. Whether it is due to funding or geographical limitations, options may be limited, so having a good local knowledge is vital. You can consider self-help such as recommending literature or online resources that you know to be evidence-based. Patient websites or help groups can also be useful, but as with online resources, be careful to only recommend information that you know to be evidence-based. See also Critical Thinking 31.4 when considering patient groups or websites. Expert patient programmes can be helpful to address taking control and ownership of a variety of conditions.

GP practices are often a great source of psychological help; either referring to or providing counselling for patients with long term health problems. Specific counselling may be offered to patients with specific symptoms, e.g. pain, fatigue. Referral to mental health services can be considered in more severe cases. A useful document to read is Investing in emotional and psychological wellbeing for patients with long-term conditions published by the NHS Confederation in 2012.