University of Oulu

Rainer Schaefert, Barbara Stein, Gunther Meinlschmidt, Noa Roemmel, Jordi Blanch, Birgitte Boye, Eduardo Carqueja, Tiziano De Matteis, Peter Dineen, Anne M. Doherty, Silvia Ferrari, Victoria Lanvin, William Lee, Gilbert M.D. Lemmens, Cédric Lemogne, Krzysztof Małyszczak, António Mendes-Pedro, Ali-Akbar Nejatisafa, Sami Räsänen, Benjamin Rosen, Frederico Simões do Couto, Markos Syngelakis, Ilaria Tarricone, Christina M. Van der Feltz-Cornelis, Christian G. Huber, Christian Fazekas, Frank Vitinius, COVID-19-related consultation-liaison (CL) mental health services in general hospitals: A perspective from Europe and beyond, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 167, 2023, 111183, ISSN 0022-3999,

COVID-19-related consultation-liaison (CL) mental health services in general hospitals : a perspective from Europe and beyond

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Author: Schaefert, Rainer1; Stein, Barbara2; Meinlschmidt, Gunther1,3,4;
Organizations: 1University of Basel and University Hospital Basel, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Basel, Switzerland
2Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Paracelsus Medical Private University, Nuremberg, General Hospital, Germany
3Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology, Department of Psychology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
4Department of Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, International Psychoanalytic University, Berlin, Germany
5Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
6University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
7Center of Biomedical Network Research on Mental Health (CIBERSAM), Spain
8Psychosomatic and Consultation-liaison Psychiatry, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
9Department of behavioral medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
10Serviço de Psicologia do Centro Hospitalar Universitário de S. João, Porto, Portugal
11Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
12Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum - Bologna University, Bologna, Italy
13Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Science, University College Cork & Cork University Hospital, Ireland
14Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland
15Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
16University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
17Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
18Dipartimento ad attività integrata di Salute Mentale e Dipendenze Patologiche, USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
19Department of Psychosomatic and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, and University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
20Cornwall Foundation Trust, United Kingdom
21University of Exeter, United Kingdom
22Department of Psychiatry, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
23Department Head and Skin - Psychiatry, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
24Université Paris Cité, INSERM U1266, Institute of Psychiatry and Neuroscience of Paris, Paris, France
25Service de Psychiatrie de l'adulte, AP-HP, Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu, Paris, France
26Division of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Department of Psychiatry, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland
27Instituto Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisboa, Portugal
28Psychosomatic Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Iranian Association of Psychosomatic Medicine, Iran
29Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland and Department of Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
30Sinai Health, Department of Psychiatry and University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
31Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisboa, Portugal
32Division of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatics, First Department of Psychiatry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, G.H. Papageorgiou, Thessaloniki, Greece
33Department of Health Sciences, Hull York Medical School, University of York, York, United Kingdom
34University of Basel, Department of Psychiatry (UPK), Basel, Switzerland
35Medical University of Graz, Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Graz, Austria
36Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-09


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic posed new challenges for integrated health care worldwide. Our study aimed to describe newly implemented structures and procedures of psychosocial consultation and liaison (CL) services in Europe and beyond, and to highlight emerging needs for co-operation.

Methods: Cross-sectional online survey from June to October 2021, using a self-developed 25-item questionnaire in four language versions (English, French, Italian, German). Dissemination was via national professional societies, working groups, and heads of CL services.

Results: Of the participating 259 CL services from Europe, Iran, and parts of Canada, 222 reported COVID-19 related psychosocial care (COVID-psyCare) in their hospital. Among these, 86.5% indicated that specific COVID-psyCare co-operation structures had been established. 50.8% provided specific COVID-psyCare for patients, 38.2% for relatives, and 77.0% for staff. Over half of the time resources were invested for patients. About a quarter of the time was used for staff, and these interventions, typically associated with the liaison function of CL services, were reported as most useful. Concerning emerging needs, 58.1% of the CL services providing COVID-psyCare expressed wishes for mutual information exchange and support, and 64.0% suggested specific changes or improvements that they considered essential for the future.

Conclusion: Over 80% of participating CL services established specific structures to provide COVID-psyCare for patients, their relatives, or staff. Mostly, resources were committed to patient care and specific interventions were largely implemented for staff support. Future development of COVID-psyCare warrants intensified intra- and inter-institutional exchange and co-operation.

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Series: Journal of psychosomatic research
ISSN: 0022-3999
ISSN-E: 1879-1360
ISSN-L: 0022-3999
Volume: 167
Article number: 111183
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2023.111183
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (