From Psychiatric News Alert. Short hospital stays for patients with schizophrenia are associated with risk of early readmission, possibly because the person is insufficiently stabilized, according to a report in Psychiatric Services in Advance. Researchers at the University of South Florida and other institutions used Medicaid and service-use data to identify adults with schizophrenia discharged from hospitals and crisis units who were taking anti-psychotics. Data were extracted on demographic characteristics, service use before admission, psychopharmacologic treatment after discharge, and readmission to acute behavioral health care.
Study subjects had 6,633 inpatient episodes. Readmission occurred for 84 percent of the episodes, 23 percent of them within 30 days after initial discharge. Variables associated with an increased readmission risk in the first 30 days were shorter hospital stay, shorter time on medication before discharge, greater prehospitalization use of acute care, serious general medical comorbidity, and prior substance abuse treatment.
“This finding suggests that some patients may have been discharged before they were sufficiently stabilized,” the researchers said. “Patients with shorter stays and those not sufficiently stabilized on their medication should receive more vigorous discharge planning and follow-up care to ensure smoother transition to treatment in the community.”