Psychiatrists are leading the current health care response to tackle mental health impact of the COVID-19. Alongside, they face the daunting task of continued-care for the mentally ill, in a period of heightened risk, given the unprecedented infectious disease outbreak. Most of our IPS members with busy practice will experience time constrains limiting their ability to examine a vast body of quickly transforming information and synthesize it to their settings.
To address this, IPS has collaborated with the Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS to prepare a guidance for Psychiatrists. The guidance focuses on the needs of Specialist Psychiatrists to ensure a ‘safe practice’ minimizing risk to themselves, their co-working health care professionals, patients and their families in the times of COVID-19 pandemic. It borrows heavily from the larger guidance document recently released by the Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS (Mental Health in the times of COVID-19 Pandemic- Guidance for General Medical & Specialised Mental Health Care Settings).
In preparing the sections, the contributing authors who are faculty at the Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS have reviewed all published research on psychiatric practice in COVID-19, in addition to appraising guidelines published by CDC, WHO and Government of India. In this context, it may be underlined that at this point there is very little research based evidence and most published work represent early results or expert consensus. This booklet includes sections proposing recommendations for rearranging practice settings and establishing tele-medicine consultations. It addresses needs of children/adolescents, geriatric, perinatal populations and rehabilitation settings. The guidance also dwells on common issues in day to day including psychotropic safety and ECT in COVID-19 times. The section which collates updated information on recommended standards of
personal hygiene and sanitation is useful for all settings. All contributors are well aware of the need to ensure that any guidance be with manageable costs and adaptable to our unique socio-cultural setting. The guidance summarizes information as a fact sheet without references, using bullet points wherever possible for ease of reading.