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Patients who self-poison are at increased risk of future self-poisoning and early death. Admission patterns and effective treatment strategies are unclear although psychosocial assessment may reduce readmissions. This study aimed to determine admission patterns and the proportion of patients receiving a psychiatric assessment in 4220 consecutive admissions.
The average age was 34 years (s.d.=13, range 13–94); most were female (56 v. 44%, P<50.001). Twelve per cent of patients were aged 13–18 years, again the majority were female (70 v. 30%, P<50.001). Twenty per cent of patients had multiple admissions, accounting for 42% of the total admissions. There were slightly more admissions per day at the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday; P<0.002). As many as 245 patients were either not referred or ‘self-discharged’ before they were assessed by the liaison psychiatry service.
These findings may help target medical resources, suggesting that consistent numbers of staff are required during all days of the week.
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