oa Curationis - Primary health care nurses' management practices of common mental health conditions in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : original research

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0379-8577
  • E-ISSN: 2223-6279



Psychiatric conditions contribute to 13% of the global burden of diseases and account for one third of years lost because of disability (YLD). Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems, primary health care (PHC) services remain ineffective in managing patients with mental health conditions.

The aim of the study was to determine the practices of PHC nurses in the management of psychiatric patients in primary health care clinics in one of the rural districts in South Africa.
A survey was conducted amongst nurses working in several PHC clinics in KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) in order to determine their practices in the management of psychiatric patients. Mixed methods were used to determine the PHC nurses practices in the management of psychiatric patients.
The findings revealed that in five sites (83.3%) treatments are not reviewed every six months, there were no local protocols on the administration of psychiatric emergency drugs, and none of the study sites provided psychiatric patients with education on their medication and its possible side effects.
Based on the results of this study it is evident that psychiatric patients at PHC clinics in the district where the study was conducted do not receive quality treatment according to institutional mental health guidelines.

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