Medline ® Abstract for Reference 104
of 'Psychosocial issues in advanced illness'
Management of the borderline patient on a medical or surgical ward: the psychiatric consultant's role.
Int J Psychiatry Med. 1975;6(3):337.
The patient with borderline personality hospitalized on a medical or surgical ward has a disorganizing effect on the house staff, who may regress in response to the patient's impulsivity, dependency, entitlement, and rage. The psychiatric consultant's role in the management of such a patient should consist of a specialized type of consultee-oriented approach in which countertransference hatred and fear, typically generated in the staff by the borderline, are drawn away from the patient and strategically metabolized within the staff-consultant relationship. The consultant should actively promote a behavioral management practicum, placed in the medical chart for reference and as a symbol of the psychiatrist's helping presence, which discusses: a) clear communication with the patient and among staff, b) understanding the patient's need for constant personnel, c) dealing with the patient's entitlement without confronting the patient's needed defenses, and d) setting firm limits on the patient's dependency, manipulativeness, rage, and self-destructive behaviors. The consultant should work to counteract feelings of helplessness in the staff, to neutralize punitive superego in the staff, and to diminish fearfulness toward the patient.