Community ward rounds.
The shift to community care in psychiatry has resulted in more work with seriously ill patients outside hospital settings. Clinical experience suggests that traditional outpatient working practices cannot adequately meet the needs of such patients and recent research confirms this. This paper describes the development of a community round by a small suburban catchment area team. The introduction of the round avoided displacement of chronic patients by acute referrals and brought a multidisciplinary perspective to the management of all patients. A more pressing need was found for structuring the review process in the community than in the inpatient setting. Community rounds are recommended as a means of reducing professional isolation, absorbing stress and ensuring effective training and audit. Finally the primary aim of the community round is achieved by providing patients in the community with the same comprehensive treatment plan provided to inpatients.