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Outcomes of a psycho-education and monitoring programme to prevent compulsory admission to psychiatric inpatient care: a randomised controlled trial

  • B. Lay (a1), W. Kawohl (a1) (a2) and W. Rössler (a1) (a3)
Abstract
Background

There is a need for interventions that effectively reduce compulsory admission to psychiatry. We conducted a randomised controlled trial to investigate whether an innovative intervention programme prevents compulsory re-admission in people with serious mental illness.

Methods

The programme addresses primarily patients’ self-management skills. It consists of individualised psychoeducation focusing on behaviours prior to and during illness-related crises, crisis cards and, after discharge from the psychiatric hospital, a 24-month preventive monitoring. A total of 238 inpatients with compulsory admission(s) in the past were randomised to the intervention group or to treatment as usual (TAU).

Results

Fewer participants who completed the 24-month programme were compulsorily readmitted to psychiatry (28%), compared with those receiving TAU (43%). Likewise, the number of compulsory readmissions per patient was significantly lower (0.6 v. 1.0) and involuntary episodes were shorter (15 v. 31 days), compared with TAU. A negative binomial regression model showed a significant intervention effect (RR 0.6; 95% confidence interval 0.3–0.9); further factors linked to the risk of compulsory readmission were the number of compulsory admissions in the patient's history (RR 2.8), the diagnosis of a personality disorder (RR 2.8), or a psychotic disorder (RR 1.9). Dropouts (37% intervention group; 22% TAU) were characterised by a high number of compulsory admissions prior to the trial, younger age and foreign nationality.

Conclusions

This study suggests that this intervention is a feasible and valuable option to prevent compulsory re-hospitalisation in a high-risk group of people with severe mental health problems, social disabilities, and a history of hospitalisations.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: PD Dr. B. Lay, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich, Lenggstr. 31, PO Box 1931, CH-8032 Zurich, Switzerland. (Email: barbara.lay@bli.uzh.ch)
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