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Alternatives to standard acute in-patient care in England: roles and populations served

  • S. Johnson (a1), B. Lloyd-Evans (a1), N. Morant (a2), H. Gilburt (a3), G. Shepherd (a4), M. Slade (a3), D. Jagielska (a5), M. Leese (a3), S. Byford (a3) and D. P. J. Osborn (a6)...

Abstract

Background

Key questions regarding residential alternatives to standard acute psychiatric care, such as crisis houses and short-stay in-patient units, concern the role that they fulfil within local acute care systems, and whether they manage people with needs and illnesses of comparable severity to those admitted to standard acute wards.

Aims

To study the extent to which people admitted to residential alternatives and to standard acute services are similar, and the role within local acute care systems of admission to an alternative service.

Method

Our approach combined quantitative and qualitative methods. Consecutive cohorts of patients in six residential alternatives across England and six standard acute wards in the same areas were identified, and clinical and demographic characteristics, severity of symptoms, impairments and risks compared. Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in each local service system were used to explore the role and functioning of each alternative.

Results

Being already known to services (OR = 2.6, 95% CI 1.3–5.2), posing a lower risk to others (OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.31–0.78) and having initiated help-seeking in the current crisis (OR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.2–4.3) were associated with being admitted to an alternative rather than a standard service. Stakeholder interviews suggested that alternatives have a role that is similar but not identical to standard hospital services. They can divert some, but not all, patients from acute admission.

Conclusions

Residential alternatives are integrated into catchment area mental health systems. They serve similar, but not identical, clinical populations to standard acute wards and provide some, but not all, of the functions of these wards.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor Sonia Johnson, Department of Mental Health Sciences, 2nd floor, Charles Bell House, 67–73 Riding House Street, London W1W 7EY, UK. Email: s.johnson@ucl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Alternatives to standard acute in-patient care in England: roles and populations served

  • S. Johnson (a1), B. Lloyd-Evans (a1), N. Morant (a2), H. Gilburt (a3), G. Shepherd (a4), M. Slade (a3), D. Jagielska (a5), M. Leese (a3), S. Byford (a3) and D. P. J. Osborn (a6)...

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Alternatives to standard acute in-patient care in England: roles and populations served

  • S. Johnson (a1), B. Lloyd-Evans (a1), N. Morant (a2), H. Gilburt (a3), G. Shepherd (a4), M. Slade (a3), D. Jagielska (a5), M. Leese (a3), S. Byford (a3) and D. P. J. Osborn (a6)...
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