Physical examination in psychiatric practice: Part 1

by Dr Gill Garden


Last updated: October 2014


Failure to conduct a physical examination of a psychiatric patient has potentially serious implications.


Death rates among psychiatric patients are much higher than in the general population, with higher rates of physical disorder across the entire range of mental disorders.


Yet, British studies have reported the recording of physical examination carried out by psychiatric trainees to be ‘uniformly poor’ or ‘variable’: there appears to be a need for a far more conscientious provision of physical healthcare within psychiatry.


How can this be achieved and what barriers are there to overcome?


This module, The physical examination in psychiatric practice: Part 1 begins with an overview of the current practice of physical examination in psychiatry, giving advice on what to consider, practical requirements and how to make assessments in sometimes difficult circumstances.


Section 4 of this module begins the enquiry into a patient's physical health by looking at the nervous system. In The physical examination in psychiatric practice: Part 2, the remaining systems and related types of examination will be covered.


Start the module


Please note: This module was published in 2014. A revision is being worked on, but in the meantime please be aware when completing the module that some of the guidance may have changed.

If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Physical examination in psychiatric practice: Part 2 by Dr Gill Garden


Physical healthcare in severe mental illness by Dr Steve Brown


Essentials of Physical Health in Psychiatry (book from RCPsych Publications)



BJPsych Advances: related articles for CPD Online



Related Advances articles


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