Department of Psychiatry
The Department of Psychiatry has on board six full-time psychiatrists and two full-time clinical psychologists, in addition to two part-time psychiatrists and one part-time psychologist. Two of the faculty members are trained child psychiatrists and one faculty member specialises in psychiatry of the elderly. The department has on board 3 full-time psychiatrists and 1 full-time clinical psychologist, in addition to 2 part-time psychiatrists and 2 part-time psychologists. Two of the faculty members are trained child psychiatrists and one faculty member specialises in psychiatry of the elderly.
- The psychiatric services include:
- Eighteen bedded acute care short-term adult psychiatric unit
- Day care programme
- 24-hours emergency service and consultation/referral service
- Twenty two weekly outpatient clinics.
- Occupational therapy programme is attached to the inpatient and day care services.
- The treatment programme is eclectically oriented and utilises a bio-psychosocial model. Comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, consultation and various treatment modalities are provided both in inpatient and outpatient settings. Treatment modalities include:
- Individual and family therapy
- Behavioural management techniques.
- Child psychiatry service mainly provided on an outpatient basis.
- Alcohol and drug detoxification treatment can be provided on a selective basis.
The doctors and nurses, based on the patient's condition, conduct family sessions. The focus of a family session is on educating the patient and his/her family about the disease, medication, rehabilitation, home management and follow-ups. An ongoing assessment of the patient's condition is also made in the family session. Planning of short, long and overnight leaves is decided in these sessions in order to see the patient's adjustment and behavioural changes while at home.
Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT)
It is a specialised procedure used very selectively and only for severely depressed patients who do not respond to conventional treatment or have some contraindications to antidepressant medications. It is given under general anaesthesia after consent from the patient and his or her family. The procedure is safe and often life-saving.
Day Care Services
Occupational therapy is offered to both hospitalised and day care patients. It is the art and science of directing the patient's participation to select tasks to restore, reinforce and enhance his/her performance. It facilitates learning of those skills and functions that are essential for adaptation and productivity and for promoting and maintaining health. The fundamental concern is to develop the capacity to perform with satisfaction the tasks and roles essential to productive living and mastery of the self and the environment. Occupational therapy plays a very important role in making patients a productive community member. Patients referred from other hospitals can be admitted to the occupational therapy programme.
The department provides basic consultation and outpatient psychotherapy services to adults and children. Individual, marital and family therapy is provided for psychological distress. The department also offers psychological assessment services for children as well as adults. The child assessments are used for identification and management of childhood disorders, intellectual deficits, learning disabilities and developmental delays. Assessment comprises of cognitive abilities, achievement, educational problems, emotional problems, psycho-educational needs and career guidance. Adult assessment focuses on identification and management of various forms of psychopathology, cognitive abilities, neuropsychological functioning and emotional and personality profiles.
The Department of Psychiatry, AKUH, at present, is the only department in Pakistan which provides a very structured and unique training programme to medical students of Aga Khan University. The training consists of a four weeks' rotation in year IV, followed by an end-of-term examination and a written paper at the end of the year. The students learn to manage common mental illnesses and identify and refer appropriately for severe mental illnesses. They are encouraged to learn the bio-psycho-social model of etiology of different diseases.
The discipline of psychiatry deals with psychological health and disorders. The prevalence estimates for common mental disorders in developing countries is estimated to be many times higher in western countries. In contradiction to this, there is dearth of trained mental health professionals. The residency programme at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, offers broad-based training in recognition and management of mental disorders. The programme has the largest and one of the most diverse teaching faculties in the country. The philosophy of the programme is to produce leaders in mental health profession who have necessary vision and skill to establish and deliver basic psychiatric services. The emphasis in our training programme is on acquiring essential diagnostic and psychotherapeutic skills. Trainees from all over the country are encouraged to apply, by responding to advertisements in a number of national newspapers. The programme is recognised by the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan for DCPS and FCPS (Psychiatry) training.