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According to a new study, nurses treating mental health patients may in fact be setting a poor example that in turn negatively impacts their patients.
The study, which was conducted at the University of East Anglia, noted that mentally ill sufferers in the United Kingdom tended to suffer from bad physical health as a result of nurses' behavior. This, apparently, is the direct result of poor preparation on the part of the nurses on knowing how to deal with the physical limitations of their patients.
As per the study’s leader researcher, Professor Richard Gray: "Mental health nurses do a tough job and are compassionate and highly committed.
"But they do not tend to be skilled at managing the physical health of their patients.”
The analysis conducted revealed that mental health nurses had higher rates of smoking than average, and that might be a factor in influencing the patients. Out of the 782 subjects involved that had a certain amount of mental health conditions, many were found to be obese as well as suffer from heart disease and diabetes. Further, they were more likely to drink too much and have bad diets.
Some researchers noted that mentally ill people, as a result of their poor physical conditioning, could lose as much as 25 years off their lives.
"Since mental health workers tend to have sustained one-to-one relationships with their patients over many years, those who smoke, have a poor diet and fail to take regular exercise are having a negative influence on the lives of already vulnerable people," Gray added.
"We urgently need to train our mental health workers to lead by example and intervene if their patients' physical health is deteriorating. All health professionals have a duty to promote health in the patients they treat."
"Government guidelines must reflect the shared responsibility all health care professionals have to promote health in one of the most marginalized and socially excluded groups in our society."
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