Dual Diagnosis: Nursing

Clinicians from both drug and alcohol services and mental health services have long recognized that neither service area provides adequate clinical care to those clients who have a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. It is now more than 10 years since a ground-breaking Australian study recognized this. To ascertain whether there has been improvement in the service management of clients who have a dual diagnosis, and to determine the best practice interventions in the area of mental health nursing, we undertook a review of the literature. The databases CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycARTICLES and PsychINFO were searched and 185 articles met the inclusion criteria. From this review, it seems that gaps still remain in the provision of services and that mental health nurses might be best placed to provide integrated care to those clients who have a dual diagnosis and present to mental health services. This requires mental health nurses to have skills in substance use detection and knowledge of potential care implications for the client in the context of their substance use.

 

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