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Journal article

How do general practitioners conceptualise self-harm in their older patients? A qualitative study

1 Mar 2018
Description

Background and objectives

Little is known about how general practitioners (GPs) conceptualise self-harm in older people. The aim of this study was to explore GPs' understanding of the reasons for recent self-harm in an older patient.

Methods

Short questionnaires were sent to the GPs of patients aged 80 years or older who had recently self-harmed and were participants in a qualitative study about self-harm. Questions evaluated GPs’ understanding of the self-harm. Thematic analysis was used to identify and analyse themes.

Results

Thirteen GP responses were analysed. GPs could identify multiple factors contributing to self-harm in their patients but did not see a role for themselves in addressing these issues. They feared repetition of self-harm if these underlying contributory factors, including depression, did not change.

Discussion

Targeted education and practical options for GPs regarding management of the issues underlying self-harm in older people are needed. Families and carers may be underused allies in management. These strategies may serve to counter therapeutic nihilism and clinician isolation.

Publication Details
Volume: 
27
Issue: 
3
Pagination: 
146-151
Language: 
License Type: 
All Rights Reserved
Peer Reviewed: 
Yes
Published year only: 
2018
0
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