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Provision of community-based mental health care, Latvia

Taube M, Quentin W
Bulletin World Health Organisation
2020, Volume 98/pp 426–430


Problem In Latvia, the move towards community-based mental health-care services has been slow.

Approach The hospital managers of the only psychiatric hospital in Riga decided to establish two community-based clinics that were financially and administratively integrated with the hospital. The clinics were established using a step-wise approach by redistributing resources, including psychiatrists, nurses and beds, from the hospital to the new clinics. In 2005, the Veldre clinic started outpatient consultations and day care admissions. In 2009, Pardaugava clinic opened as an outpatient clinic. In 2012, an open-door inpatient ward with 30 beds was transferred from the psychiatric hospital to Veldre. In 2013, Pardaugava clinic opened a day care clinic and an open-door inpatient ward, transferring 26 beds from the psychiatric hospital.

Local setting Latvians have worse mental health indicators than those of the average population in Europe. Mental care has traditionally focused on inpatient care.

Relevant changes The clinics are now providing most of the outpatient services and the number of inpatients treated at the hospital has declined from 5696 patients in 2004 to 4957 patients in 2018. Patients are treated in a more open and patient-centred environment.

Lessons learnt The administrative and financial integration of the new community-based clinics within the existing structures of the hospital is a successful approach. Transferring resources to the clinics seems to have improved the quality of care without requiring additional funding apart from the initial investment costs. Involving the staff members during the planning phase reduced resistance to the project.



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