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Referrals at day and night time to an acute psychiatric care unit

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2008

John E Berg*
Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Oslo, Norway
Correspondence to: Dr J.E. Berg, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Department of Acute Psychiatry, 0440 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 23226000; E-mail:
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Patients can be referred at any time of day or night for acute care in an inpatient setting in a psychiatric hospital. The time of arrival at an acute psychiatric care unit has not previously been studied. We studied all referrals (1323) of 1027 individual patients to our unit in 2005 according to time of arrival at the unit.

Between 08.00 and 16.59 51.6% arrived, between 17.00 and 00.59 39.1%, and between 01.00 and 07.59 in the morning 9.3%. Mean length of stay was lowest for patients arriving at night. 637 referred patients were female and 686 male. This was not different from the representation in the catchment area population. Females had longer mean stays than men, 11.3 versus 9.4 days, but more men than women were referred during the year. 19.4% of referred patients ended their stay within the first day; two referrals lasted for more than 100 days. Patients referred between 01.00 and 07.59 ended their stay within one day in 39.0% of cases, and within seven days in 76.4% of cases.

Almost half of all patients arrived when all therapists except the doctor on duty, who is in training, had left the unit.

Original Paper
Copyright © NAPICU 2008

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