When concluding a Depression review, it’s essential for pharmacists to provide effective safety netting advice to patients. This vital component of the consultation aims to equip patients with the necessary guidance surrounding any next steps to take, as well as relevant contacts to approach if concerns arise or their condition deteriorates. Inspired by our recent podcast, this article elaborates on the essential elements of effective safety netting in depression reviews.
Availability for Future Contact
Firstly, it is imperative to clearly communicate to the patient that, as their clinical pharmacist, you are an accessible point of contact for any concerns they may have. You should provide details on the most efficient methods for reaching you for example by requesting an appointment via reception. Additionally, you should offer alternative contacts, such as other pharmacists or healthcare professionals, who can assist them should you be unavailable.
Awareness of Immediate Care Services
Another key aspect of safety netting is ensuring that the patient is aware of the immediate healthcare services available to them. You should inform them about the 111 service and emphasise that this can be used for urgent situations which occur outside of standard operating hours. You should also ensure that they are aware of the 24-hour psychiatric service accessible at A&E departments and emphasise that this would be an appropriate service if they are at immediate risk.
Direction to Additional Support Services
Beyond immediate healthcare services, it is also beneficial to inform patients about the broader spectrum of support services available, such as Mind, Sane Line, Depression UK, and the Samaritans. These organisations provide not only emotional support but also invaluable information that can help patients better understand and manage their condition.
Scheduling a Proactive Follow-Up
As you draw the consultation to a close, scheduling a proactive follow-up appointment is crucial. This should be coordinated for a timeframe that aligns with the patient’s specific healthcare needs and level of risk. In situations where self-harm or other immediate risks have been identified, you should consider asking the patient if they think they’ll be safe until that date and adjust the date if needed.
Following the consultation, it is essential to thoroughly document everything discussed. Primarily, this provides a transparent record that can be referred to in future consultations, either by yourself or the next clinician. This level of documentation thereby ensures continuity of care and enhances patient safety.
Effective safety netting forms the cornerstone of comprehensive and patient-centred care in depression consultations. By following this guide, pharmacists can optimise their patient care as well as significantly contribute to improving the management of Depression.
To expand your knowledge further, tune in to our full podcast episode here.
Additionally, you can access our comprehensive training programme for Depression reviews here.