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Psychiatric hospital treatment of children and adolescents in New South Wales, Australia: 12-year trends

  • Philip Hazell (a1), Titia Sprague (a2) and Joanne Sharpe (a3)
Abstract
Background

It is preferable that children and adolescents requiring in-patient care for mental health problems are managed in age-appropriate facilities. To achieve this, nine specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in-patient units have been commissioned in New South Wales (NSW) since 2002.

Aims

To examine trends in child and adolescent in-patient admissions since the opening of these CAMHS units.

Method

Analysis of separation data for under 18-year-olds to CAMHS, adult mental health and paediatric units for the period 2002 to 2013 in NSW, comparing districts with and without specialist CAMHS units.

Results

Separations from CAMHS, adult and paediatric units rose with time, but there was no interaction between time and health district type (with/without CAMHS unit). Five of eight health districts experienced increased separations of under 18-year-olds from adult units in the year of opening a CAMHS unit. Separations from related paediatric units increased in three of seven health districts.

Conclusions

Opening CAMHS units may be followed by a temporary increase in separations of young people from adult units, but it does not influence the flow of patients to non-CAMHS facilities in the longer term.

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Copyright
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Corresponding author
Philip Hazell, Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, Rivendell, Thomas Walker Hospital, Hospital Road, Concord West, NSW 2138, Australia. Email: philip.hazell@sswahs.nsw.gov.au
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 National Mental Health Development Unit. Working Together to Provide Age-appropriate Environments and Services for Mental Health Patients Aged Under 18. A briefing for commissioners of adult mental health services and child and adolescent mental health services, 2009 (http://www.chimat.org.uk/resource/item.aspx?RID=71881, accessed 4 April 2015).
2 Royal College of Psychiatrists. FR/CAP/01: Survey of In-patient Admissions for Children and Young People with Mental Health Problems. Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2015.
3 Duffy, FSJ. Innovations in practice: the impact of the development of a CAMH intensive treatment service and service redesign on psychiatric admissions. Child Adolesc Ment Health 2013; 18: 120–3.
4 Lamb, CE. Alternatives to admission for children and adolescents: providing intensive mental healthcare services at home and in communities: what works? Curr Opin Psychiatry 2009; 22: 345–50.
5 Shepperd, S, Doll, H, Gowers, S, James, A, Fazel, M, Fitzpatrick, R, et al. Alternatives to inpatient mental health care for children and young people. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009; CD006410.
6 Health Service Executive (Ireland). Fourth Annual Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Report 2011–2012 (http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/Mentalhealth/camhs20112012annualreport.pdf, accessed 4 April 2015).
7 HealthStats, NSW. Population by age. NSW Government, 2015 (www.healthstats.nsw.gov.au/Indicator/dem_pop_age, accessed 28 July 2015).
8 Sourander, A, Turunen, MM. Psychiatric hospital care among children and adolescents in Finland: a nationwide register study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiol 1999; 34: 105–10.
9 Pedrini, L, Colasurdo, G, Costa, S, Fabiani, M, Ferraresi, L, Franzoni, E, et al. The characteristics and activities of child and adolescent mental health services in Italy: a regional survey. BMC Psychiatry 2012; 12: 7.
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11 Ostman, O. Psychiatric hospital care of children and adolescents in Sweden. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1988; 77: 567–74.
12 House of Commons Health Committee. Children and Adolescent's Mental Health and CAMHS. Third report of session 2014–2015. TSO (The Stationery Office), 2014.
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BJPsych Open
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Psychiatric hospital treatment of children and adolescents in New South Wales, Australia: 12-year trends

  • Philip Hazell (a1), Titia Sprague (a2) and Joanne Sharpe (a3)
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