Background: The importance of pharmacists in mental healthcare is starting to be recognised around the world. However few studies have focused on the evidence supporting pharmacist involvement in the inpatient mental healthcare setting.
Aim: Evaluate types of outcomes achieved and level of evidence supporting clinical pharmacy services in inpatient mental health settings.
Methods: Medline, PyscINFO and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts databases were searched from January 1990 to March 31 2013. Studies were included if in an inpatient setting, published in English, and reported an intervention provided by a pharmacist or involving a pharmacist with a pivotal role in an intervention team. Data were extracted according to sample population and size, study design and outline, country, role of the pharmacist in the study, and the main results of the study. The level of evidence for each study was assessed using Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council's hierarchy of clinical evidence and results were categorised as having economic, clinical and/or humanistic outcomes.
Results: Eighteen articles met the inclusion criteria. A range of pharmaceutical services provided by pharmacists in inpatient mental healthcare were identified. These services highlight the role of pharmacists as reviewers of medication charts, laboratory results and medication prescribing and as educators of patients and other health care professionals. Six studies included a control or comparison group and had pre and post intervention measures. These comprised of three randomised control trials, one historical control study and two case series post and pre-post tests, corresponding to evidence levels of II, III-3 and IV respectively. Seven studies reported clinical outcomes, two economical and one humanistic outcomes. One study reported both clinical and economical outcomes. Seven studies focused on impact evaluation measures.
Conclusions: Pharmacists provide a variety of services and play a significant role in inpatient mental healthcare. However, the level of evidence supporting these services is limited and the type of outcomes achieved is narrow.