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To evaluate whether involuntary out-patient commitment (OPC) in patients with severe mental disorder reduces their use of hospital services. This is a retrospective case-control study comparing a group of patients on OPC (n = 75) and a control group (n = 75) which was composed of patients whose sociodemographic variables and clinical characteristics were similar to those of the OPC group. Each control case is paired with an OPC case, so the control case must have an involuntary admission in the month that the index OPC case admission occurred. Emergency room visits, admissions and average length of hospital stay over a 2-year follow-up after the initiation of OPC were compared.
No statistically significant evidence was found in the use of mental healthcare services between the two groups. Different reasons for admission found between the groups limit similarity when comparing the two.
The findings cast doubt over the effectiveness of this legal measure to reduce emergency visits, the number of admissions and the length of stay in the hospital.
To evaluate the impact of involuntary out-patient commitment (OPC) in patients with severe mental disorder who use hospital services. This is a retrospective–observational study in a population of 91 patients under OPC. The psychiatric diagnosis, sociodemographic variables, who requested the court order and for what motive were studied. The study also looked at the use of the available health services (emergency room visits, admissions, average length of hospital stay) for the period beginning 2 years before and ending 2 years after the initiation of the OPC.
The number of emergency room visits, admissions and the length of hospitalisation diminished in the 2 years following the initiation of the OPC. In terms of diagnosis, the OPC has the most impact on individuals with schizophrenia and delusional disorder.
The OPC can be useful for certain patients with severe mental disorder, particularly individuals with schizophrenia and delusional disorder.
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