Liaison psychiatry, also known as consultative psychiatry or consultation-liaison psychiatry (also, psychosomatic medicine) is the branch of psychiatry that specialises in the interface between other medical specialties and psychiatry, usually taking place in a hospital or medical setting. "Consults" are called when the primary care team has questions about a patient's mental health, or how that patient's mental health is affecting his or her care and treatment. The psychiatric team works as a "liaison" between the medical team and the patient. Issues that arise include capacity to consent to treatment, conflicts with the primary care team, and the intersection of problems in both physical and mental health, as well as patients who may report physical symptoms as a result of a mental disorder.
Liaison psychiatry may also be involved in the care for acutely suicidal patients, those who have made a suicide attempt and are on a medical unit, other forms of self-harm, and acute confusional or psychotic states, including delirium.
The American Psychiatric Association formally recognized C-L psychiatry as a subspecialty in 2004, with its own subspecialty board exam. The profession debated about the best term for this specialty, finally settling on Psychosomatic Medicine.
- International Organization for Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (accessed 22 December 2005)
- Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine