‘Failed discharge’ was used as a measure of service efficacy on a psychogeriatric unit. Thirty-eight failed discharges from hospital were compared with 38 controls. Failed discharge was associated with a diagnosis of depression and a greater number of previous admissions. Possible underlying causes are discussed.
In the current NHS climate, it is increasingly important to measure the outcome of medical care. In psychiatry, the most appropriate methodology is not clear-cut (Garden & Oyebode, 1989). Tailed discharge’, or readmission to hospital within a short period of discharge, has been advocated as a possible outcome measure (Jones, 1991). This point prevalence study, of patients under 65 years, yielded a ‘failed discharge’ rate of 27%. Recurrence of original symptoms, poor treatment compliance and failure of follow-up arrangements emerged as important factors.