BACKGROUND: Patient-centred care is an essential component of quality of health care. We hypothesize that integration of a mental health care package into versatile first-line health care services can strengthen patient participation, an important dimension of patient-centred care. The objective of this study is to analyse whether consultations conducted by providers in facilities that integrated mental health care score higher in terms of patient participation.
METHODS: This study was conducted in Guinea in 12 not-for-profit health centres, 4 of which had integrated a mental health care package (MH+) and 8 had not (MH-). The study involved 450 general curative consultations (175 in MH+ and 275 in MH- centres), conducted by 18 care providers (7 in MH+ and 11 in MH- centres). Patients were interviewed after the consultation on how they perceived their involvement in the consultation, using the Patient Participation Scale (PPS). The providers completed a self-administered questionnaire on their perception of patient's involvement in the consultation. We compared scores of the PPS between MH+ and MH- facilities and between patients and providers.
RESULTS: The mean PPS score was 24.21 and 22.54 in MH+ and MH- health centres, respectively. Participation scores depended on both care providers and the health centres they work in. The patients consulting an MH+ centre were scoring higher on patient participation score than the ones of an MH- centre (adjusted odds ratio of 4.06 with a 95% CI of 1.17-14.10, p = 0.03). All care providers agreed they understood the patients' concerns, and patients shared this view. All patients agreed they wanted to be involved in the decision-making concerning their treatment; providers, however, were reluctant to do so.
CONCLUSION: Integrating a mental health care package into versatile first-line health services can promote more patient-centred care.