Intervention to promote physical health in staff within mental health facilities and the impact on patients’ physical health

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Background: Patients with severe mental illnesses have an increased physical morbidity andpremature mortality on account of somatic diseases. Patients with mental illness are nursed andcared for by the staff, who may acts as role models for the patients.
Aims: The study tested theefficacy of an intervention programme for improving physical health in staff working in longtermpsychiatric treatment facilities. Furthermore, the paper measured the association betweenstaff’s changes in physical health and the patients’ changes in physical health.
Methods: Thestudy was a cluster randomized controlled 12-month intervention study, and the interventionwas active awareness on physical health.
Results: In the intervention group the staff reducedtheir waist circumference by 2.3 cm (95% CI: 0.3–4.4) when controlling for gender, age andcigarette consumption. In the control group, the staff changed their waist circumference by - 2.1 cm (95% CI: - 5.6–1.5). The staff in the intervention group experienced a significantreduction in diastolic blood pressure of - 5.9 mmHg (95% CI: - 9.5 to - 2.3, p=0.009). Thestudy indicated an association between the staff average change in each facility and theindividual patient’s changes in health parameters (body mass index, total body fat and qualityof life).
Conclusion: The staff in the intervention group showed a significant reduction of waistcircumference, while staff in the control group showed a non-significant increase. Furthermore,a significant reduction in the diastolic blood pressure was seen. Indications that staff acted aspositive role models for the patients’ physical health were seen.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)62-71
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 149037649