Doctor and psychologist in face masks discussing.

Physicians and psychologists in the same team at Helsinki City Hospital – meeting the patient’s treatment needs through cooperation

At Helsinki City Hospital, physicians and psychologists work together to benefit the patients, paying attention to both their physical and mental health. This leads to respectful encounters between the patients, their loved ones and professionals, where the focus is on holistic well-being.

This type of cooperation is a new method, and it takes place in multi-professional teams at Suursuo Hospital, the palliative outpatient clinic, the hospital at home and the geriatric outpatient clinic.

“We look for the best solutions for the patient and their loved ones together with the physicians,” psychologists Miranda Koskinen and Elina Kiehelä say. “Psychologists add a health-psychological perspective to patient care. In practice, this means that we pay attention to the reactions evoked by serious illnesses and help normalise them.”

Comprehensive treatment of memory disorders

Both the psychological and physical well-being of patients are also taken into account in the treatment of memory disorders.

“With memory disorders, psychological knowledge about the effects of the disorder on emotional control and information processing will help with planning the treatment. At the geriatric outpatient clinic, a psychologist will help review the patient’s memory problems by carrying out cognitive examinations, for example,” says psychologist Micaela Salo.

“The different stages of memory disorder cause psychological stress, both for the patient and their loved ones. Support from a psychologist is very welcome and, often, the best non-medication treatment that can be offered to patients with memory disorders and their families. It’s wonderful that our multi-professional team at the geriatric outpatient clinic now also includes a psychologist,” says the chief physician of the geriatric outpatient clinic, Marja-Liisa Laakkonen.

Doctors and psychologists in face masks on a balcony.

From left to right Micaela Salo, Kaisla Mannerla, Miranda Koskinen and Elina Kiehelä.

Palliative team

Psychologists are also part of the palliative team of Suursuo Hospital, helping to put into words matters related to the patients’ health for the patients, their loved ones and the personnel. The psychologists also meet with the patient and their families one-on-one.

The psychologists are aware of the emotional reactions of both the patient and the palliative care treatment staff. When necessary, the psychologists will coach the personnel on how to approach a dying patient or their loved ones and how to manage pain and anxiety without medication.

“We are thankful to have psychologists in our palliative treatment team. They benefit the patients and their families as well as the whole team, as we get new perspectives on how to approach patients and process matters,” says Ward Physician Kaisla Mannerla.

“Having psychologists with us ensures that we can take the well-being of patients and their families into account from many different perspectives. It helps us better discern which are natural reactions that form part of the grieving process and which matters we need to intervene in to mitigate suffering,” Deputy Chief Physician Jessica Löf states.

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Pictures: Virpi Velin