Nine studies were included in the review. One study was a RCT (n=371), five were descriptive correlational studies (n=1,185), two were cohort studies (n=160) and one was a case-control study (sample size not provided). Only two studies had an adequate sample size. None of the three studies that reported randomisation to intervention or control group reported the method of allocation concealment. Six studies reported that outcome assessors were blinded.
Screening tools for mental health disorders (especially depression) were the focus of five studies. In all five studies, nurses judgement or usual admission assessments were inferior to validated screening tools in detecting an actionable level of psychiatric symptoms.
Implementation of comprehensive nursing interventions was the focus of four studies. In all four studies the intervention was superior to the control group. One RCT found that the PATCH Model intervention was more effective for reducing psychiatric symptoms for older patients with a psychiatric diagnosis (Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) 29.7, SD 8.4 at baseline and 27.4, SD 7.2, p=0.002 at end of study and Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) 13.7, SD 9.5 at baseline and 9.1, SD 6.2 at end of study) compared with usual care (BPRS 30.1, SD 11.2 at baseline and 33.9, SD 13.6 at end of study and MADRS 11.7, SD 5.8 at baseline and 15.2, SD 9.5 at end of study).