Studies indicate that risk of mortality is higher for patients admitted
to acute hospitals at the weekend. However, less is known about clinical
outcomes among patients admitted to psychiatric hospitals.
To investigate whether weekend admission to a psychiatric hospital is
associated with worse clinical outcomes.
Data were obtained from 45 264 consecutive psychiatric hospital
admissions. The association of weekend admission with in-patient
mortality, duration of hospital admission and risk of readmission was
investigated using multivariable regression analyses. Secondary analyses
were performed to investigate the distribution of admissions, discharges,
in-patient mortality, episodes of seclusion and violent incidents on
different days of the week.
There were 7303 weekend admissions (16.1%). Patients who were aged
between 26 and 35 years, female or from a minority ethnic group were more
likely to be admitted at the weekend. Patients admitted at the weekend
were more likely to present via acute hospital services, other
psychiatric hospitals and the criminal justice system than to be admitted
directly from their own home. Weekend admission was associated with a
shorter duration of admission (B coefficient –21.1 days,
95% CI –24.6 to –17.6, P<0.001) and an increased risk
of readmission in the 12 months following index admission (incidence rate
ratio 1.13, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.18, P<0.001), but
in-patient mortality (odds ratio (OR) = 0.79, 95% CI 0.51 to 1.23,
P = 0.30) was not greater than for weekday admission.
Fewer episodes of seclusion occurred at the weekend but there was no
significant variation in deaths during hospital admission or violent
incidents on different days of the week.
Being admitted at the weekend was not associated with an increased risk
of in-patient mortality. However, patients admitted at the weekend had
shorter admissions and were more likely to be readmitted, suggesting that
they may represent a different clinical population to those admitted
during the week. This is an important consideration if mental healthcare
services are to be implemented across a 7-day week.