Past evaluations of psychiatric short stay units have shown positive outcomes for patients, yet very little is known about the factors related to readmissions.
A Short Stay Pathway (SSP) has been introduced on the Gold Coast, Australia, for patients in acute mental health crisis with admissions of up to 3 days. Rates of readmissions within 28 days were compared for SSP patients (N = 678), and a diagnosis-matched control group of patients from acute mental health beds (N = 1356). Demographic and clinical factors were considered as predictors of subsequent readmissions.
Average length of stay for SSP patients was 3.4 days, compared to 7.6 days in the control group. 10.6% of SSP patients and 18.4% of the control group were readmitted within 28 days (P <.001). For both groups, a 7-day follow up significantly reduced readmissions (P <.05). Indigenous patients on SSP had higher odds of readmissions than non-Indigenous patients (P <.05), and a diagnosis of a personality disorder increased readmission in the control group but not the SSP group (P <.001).
SSP reduced repeated hospitalizations for patients in acute crisis by 42%. An identification of factors related to future admissions can inform future tailoring of this model of care to subgroups of patients.