This paper compares the case mix and clinical activity in a specialist mental health service for deaf people within a general psychiatric population, using ICD–10 diagnostic criteria.
Out-patient and in-patient caseloads differ between the two services: 27% of the deaf out-patient caseload have schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders (compared with 19% of hearing patients) and 19% have neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders (compared with 8% of hearing patients). The general psychiatric service out-patient case-load had rates of 8% and 43% for bipolar affective disorder and unipolar depression, respectively, compared with 3% and 17% in the deaf group. Deaf patients have a mean length of stay of 59 days, compared with 30 days for the hearing group. In-patient treatment accounts for 89% of the annual treatment cost for the deaf patient population.
Expansion of community services for deaf people as recommended by a recent Health Advisory Service report could reduce admission rates for deaf patients, delivering treatment benefits and cost savings.
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