Short stay unit for patients in acute mental health crisis: A case-control study of readmission rates

Jerneja Sveticic*, Kathryn Turner, Shailendhra Bethi, Ravikumar Krishnaiah, Lee Williams, Alice Almeida-Crasto, Nicolas J. C. Stapelberg, Samit Roy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)



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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12376
Number of pages7
JournalAsia-Pacific Psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date27 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


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