News Article

Revised Practice Guidelines for the Psychiatric Evaluation of Adults

The American Psychiatric Association has released the third edition of the Practice Guidelines for the Psychiatric Evaluation of Adults. These guidelines are different from previous versions in that they represent the first APA guidance developed using a new process that addresses standards set forth in a 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report titled “Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust.”

In line with the IOM recommendations, this new edition of the practice guidelines was developed following an extensive review of the literature as well as input from around 800 experts in the field. The most noticeable change in the third edition of the Practice Guidelines for the Psychiatric Evaluation of Adults is the way it is organized. Rather than resembling a manual, these new guidelines are divided into nine separate guideline “modules” that are connected by the overarching theme of psychiatric evaluation. These are the nine guidelines:

Review of Psychiatric Symptoms, Trauma History, and Psychiatric Treatment History
Substance Use Assessment
Suicide Risk Assessment
Assessment of Risk for Aggressive Behaviors
Assessment of Cultural Factors
Assessment of Medical Health
Quantitative Assessment
Involvement of the Patient in Treatment Decisions
Documentation of the Psychiatric Evaluation

In situations where there may be less expert consensus, the guidelines offered “suggestions” instead of recommendations. When writing out the recommendations, care was taken to avoid unclear words like “consider” which can be hard to implement and may vary in interpretation. There is a section in each of the modules on implementation that discusses barriers to carrying out the recommendations and adjustments for patient preferences. As new science informs the evaluation process, the iterative design of the practice guidelines will allow them to be reviewed and updated as needed.

Source: Psych News