Acad Psychiatry. 2017 Sep 22. doi: 10.1007/s40596-017-0806-1

Residents perceive limited education on family planning and contraception for patients with severe and persistent mental illness

Macaluso M, Zackula R, Bowman C, Bourne C and Sweet D

Abstract

Objectives: The primary goal of this study was to assess perceived adequacy of training by residents from multiple specialties on contraceptive prescribing and family planning for patients with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). Secondary goals included the following: (1) explore resident knowledge, attitudes, and behavior towards patients with SPMI and (2) identify barriers to meeting the reproductive health needs of patients with SPMI.

Methods: The target population was 44,237 residents from four medical specialties. Participants were from a stratified, self-selected sample. Program coordinators were asked to forward a survey link to residents. Consenting residents were provided access to a questionnaire via a secure, web-based application (REDCap). The survey assessed resident education on the reproductive health needs of patients with SPMI and included demographics (age, gender, year of residency, and specialty), perceived adequacy of training, knowledge, and attitudes, and barriers regarding contraception and family planning. Responses were summarized with frequency and compared by medical specialty.

Results: A total of 768 residents consented: 49% female, 20% male, and 31% did not indicate their gender; 19% were first year residents, 21% second year residents, 21% third year residents, 8% fourth year residents, and 30% did not indicate their year of training. By specialty, 30.6% of residents were from family medicine programs (n = 235), 10.8% were from internal medicine programs (n = 83), 18.1% were from OBGYN programs (n = 139), and 10.4% were from psychiatry programs (n = 80); 231 (30.1%) did not indicate specialty. Regarding training, 60% of residents disagreed or strongly disagreed that they had proper training on prescribing contraceptives for patients with SPMI (363 of 599). Sixty two percent of residents disagreed or strongly disagreed that they had proper training about family planning for patients with SPMI (368/599). Over 83% of residents surveyed (405/486) would prescribe contraception for patients with SPMI if they had adequate training.

Conclusion: Results indicate the need for curricular change on the reproductive health needs of patients with SPMI.

Comment: Also patients with mental illness have sexual activity, a fact sometimes overlooked by their caretakers. It appears from this study that psychiatric residents not always receive proper training on contraception for these women. First they should be adequately trained or find the information which they need. But if that is not possible, then it is recommended to refer women of reproductive age with a mental illness, to a health care provider who can give appropriate counseling and advice. (HMV)