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People with severe mental illness (SMI) have more physical health conditions than the general population, resulting in higher rates of hospitalisations and mortality. In this study, we aimed to determine the rate of emergency and planned physical health hospitalisations in those with SMI, compared to matched comparators, and to investigate how these rates differ by SMI diagnosis.
We used Clinical Practice Research DataLink Gold and Aurum databases to identify 20,668 patients in England diagnosed with SMI between January 2000 and March 2016, with linked hospital records in Hospital Episode Statistics. Patients were matched with up to four patients without SMI. Primary outcomes were emergency and planned physical health admissions. Avoidable (ambulatory care sensitive) admissions and emergency admissions for accidents, injuries and substance misuse were secondary outcomes. We performed negative binomial regression, adjusted for clinical and demographic variables, stratified by SMI diagnosis.
Emergency physical health (aIRR:2.33; 95% CI 2.22–2.46) and avoidable (aIRR:2.88; 95% CI 2.60–3.19) admissions were higher in patients with SMI than comparators. Emergency admission rates did not differ by SMI diagnosis. Planned physical health admissions were lower in schizophrenia (aIRR:0.80; 95% CI 0.72–0.90) and higher in bipolar disorder (aIRR:1.33; 95% CI 1.24–1.43). Accident, injury and substance misuse emergency admissions were particularly high in the year after SMI diagnosis (aIRR: 6.18; 95% CI 5.46–6.98).
We found twice the incidence of emergency physical health admissions in patients with SMI compared to those without SMI. Avoidable admissions were particularly elevated, suggesting interventions in community settings could reduce hospitalisations. Importantly, we found underutilisation of planned inpatient care in patients with schizophrenia. Interventions are required to ensure appropriate healthcare use, and optimal diagnosis and treatment of physical health conditions in people with SMI, to reduce the mortality gap due to physical illness.
Patients with bipolar disorder (BPD) are prone to engage in risk-taking behaviours and self-harm, contributing to higher risk of traumatic injuries requiring medical attention at the emergency room (ER).We hypothesize that pharmacological treatment of BPD could reduce the risk of traumatic injuries by alleviating symptoms but evidence remains unclear. This study aimed to examine the association between pharmacological treatment and the risk of ER admissions due to traumatic injuries.
Individuals with BPD who received mood stabilizers and/or antipsychotics were identified using a population-based electronic healthcare records database in Hong Kong (2001–2019). A self-controlled case series design was applied to control for time-invariant confounders.
A total of 5040 out of 14 021 adults with BPD who received pharmacological treatment and had incident ER admissions due to traumatic injuries from 2001 to 2019 were included. An increased risk of traumatic injuries was found 30 days before treatment [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 4.44 (3.71–5.31), p < 0.0001]. After treatment initiation, the risk remained increased with a smaller magnitude, before returning to baseline [IRR 0.97 (0.88–1.06), p = 0.50] during maintenance treatment. The direct comparison of the risk during treatment to that before and after treatment showed a significant decrease. After treatment cessation, the risk was increased [IRR 1.34 (1.09–1.66), p = 0.006].
This study supports the hypothesis that pharmacological treatment of BPD was associated with a lower risk of ER admissions due to traumatic injuries but an increased risk after treatment cessation. Close monitoring of symptoms relapse is recommended to clinicians and patients if treatment cessation is warranted.
Antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) occurs commonly but it is unclear whether it is associated with an increased risk of adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Electronic health records (EHRs) offer an opportunity to examine APP using real-world data. In this study, we use EHR data to identify periods when patients were prescribed 2 + antipsychotics and compare these with periods of antipsychotic monotherapy. To determine the relationship between APP and subsequent instances of ADRs: QT interval prolongation, hyperprolactinaemia, and increased body weight [body mass index (BMI) ⩾ 25].
We extracted anonymised EHR data. Patients aged 16 + receiving antipsychotic medication at Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2018 were included. Multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to elucidate the relationship between APP and the subsequent presence of QT interval prolongation, hyperprolactinaemia, and/or increased BMI following a period of APP within 7, 30, or 180 days respectively.
We identified 35 409 observations of antipsychotic prescribing among 13 391 patients. Compared with antipsychotic monotherapy, APP was associated with a subsequent increased risk of hyperprolactinaemia (adjusted odds ratio 2.46; 95% CI 1.87–3.24) and of registering a BMI > 25 (adjusted odds ratio 1.75; 95% CI 1.33–2.31) in the period following the APP prescribing.
Our observations suggest that APP should be carefully managed with attention to hyperprolactinaemia and obesity.
In the UK, acute mental healthcare is provided by in-patient wards and crisis resolution teams. Readmission to acute care following discharge is common. Acute day units (ADUs) are also provided in some areas.
To assess predictors of readmission to acute mental healthcare following discharge in England, including availability of ADUs.
We enrolled a national cohort of adults discharged from acute mental healthcare in the English National Health Service (NHS) between 2013 and 2015, determined the risk of readmission to either in-patient or crisis teams, and used multivariable, multilevel logistic models to evaluate predictors of readmission.
Of a total of 231 998 eligible individuals discharged from acute mental healthcare, 49 547 (21.4%) were readmitted within 6 months, with a median time to readmission of 34 days (interquartile range 10–88 days). Most variation in readmission (98%) was attributable to individual patient-level rather than provider (trust)-level effects (2.0%). Risk of readmission was not associated with local availability of ADUs (adjusted odds ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.80–1.15). Statistically significant elevated risks were identified for participants who were female, older, single, from Black or mixed ethnic groups, or from more deprived areas. Clinical predictors included shorter index admission, psychosis and being an in-patient at baseline.
Relapse and readmission to acute mental healthcare are common following discharge and occur early. Readmission was not influenced significantly by trust-level variables including availability of ADUs. More support for relapse prevention and symptom management may be required following discharge from acute mental healthcare.
Physical activity is a modifiable risk factor for several physical and mental health conditions. It is well established that people with severe mental illness have increased risk of physical health complications, particularly cardiovascular disease. They are also more likely to be physically inactive, contributing to the elevated cardiovascular and metabolic risks, which are further compounded by antipsychotic medication use. Interventions involving physical activity are a relatively low risk and accessible way of reducing physical health problems and weight in people with severe mental illness. They also have wider benefits for mental health symptoms and quality of life. However, many barriers still exist to the widespread implementation of physical activity interventions in the treatment of severe mental illness. A more concerted effort is needed to facilitate their translation into routine practice and to increase adherence to activity interventions.
Policies addressing the physical health of people with mental disorders have historically focused on those with severe mental illness (SMI), giving less prominence to the more prevalent common mental disorders (CMDs). Little is known about the comparative physical health outcomes of these patient groups. We aimed to first compare the: (a) number of past-year chronic physical conditions and (b) recent physical health service utilization between CMDs vs. SMI, and secondly compare these outcomes between people with CMDs vs. people without mental disorders.
We analyzed cross-sectional data from the third Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, a representative sample of the English population. We determined the presence of physical conditions and health service utilization by self-report and performed logistic regression models to examine associations of these outcomes between participant groups.
Past-year physical conditions were reported by the majority of participants (CMDs, n = 815, 62.1%; SMI = 27, 63.1%) with no variation in the adjusted odds of at least one physical condition between diagnoses (odds ratio [OR] = 0.96, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 0.42–1.98, p = 0.784). People with CMDs were significantly more likely to be recently hospitalized relative to with those with SMI (OR = 6.33, 95% CI 5.50–9.01, p < 0.05). Having a CMD was associated with significantly higher odds of past-year physical conditions and recent health service utilization (all p < 0.001) compared with the general population.
People with CMDs experience excess physical health morbidities in a similar pattern to those found among people with SMI, while their somatic hospitalization rates are even more elevated. Findings highlight the importance of recalibrating existing public health strategies to bring equity to the physical health needs of this patient group.
Potentially modifiable risk factors for developing dementia have been identified. However, risk factors for increased mortality in patients with diagnosed dementia are not well understood. Identifying factors that influence prognosis would help clinicians plan care and address unmet needs.
To investigate diagnosed depression and sociodemographic factors as predictors of mortality in patients with dementia in UK secondary clinical care services.
We conducted a cohort study of patients with a dementia diagnosis in an electronic health records database in a UK National Health Service mental health trust.
In 3374 patients with 10 856 person-years of follow-up, comorbid depression was not associated with mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 0.94; 95% CI 0.71–1.24). Single patients had higher mortality than those who were married (adjusted hazard ratio 1.25; 95% CI 1.03–1.50). Patients of Asian ethnicity had lower mortality rates than White British patients (adjusted hazard ratio 0.50; 95% CI 0.34–0.73).
Clinically diagnosed depression does not increase mortality in patients with dementia. Patients who are single are a potential high-mortality risk group. Lower mortality rates in Asian patients with dementia that have been reported in the USA also apply in the UK.
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are associated with increased mortality relative to the general population. There is an international emphasis on decreasing this excess mortality.
To determine whether the mortality gap between individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and the general population has decreased.
A nationally representative cohort study using primary care electronic health records from 2000 to 2014, comparing all patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and the general population. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality.
Individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia had elevated mortality (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.79, 95% CI 1.67–1.88 and 2.08, 95% CI 1.98–2.19 respectively). Adjusted HRs for bipolar disorder increased by 0.14/year (95% CI 0.10–0.19) from 2006 to 2014. The adjusted HRs for schizophrenia increased gradually from 2004 to 2010 (0.11/year, 95% CI 0.04–0.17) and rapidly after 2010 (0.34/year, 95% CI 0.18–0.49).
The mortality gap between individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and the general population is widening.
This article summarises internet-mediated approaches to conducting quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional mental health research, and describes aspects of research design to consider for optimising scientific rigour and validity as well as response. Rapid adoption of internet-mediated approaches risks compromising the quality of the methods used. Not only can it cause distress to participants, but methodological problems may lead to inappropriate inferences being made from research findings. In this article the advantages of using internet communication for research purposes are balanced against the disadvantages, using examples of recent internet-mediated research (IMR) studies to illustrate good practice.
High-quality evidence on morale in the mental health workforce is
To describe staff well-being and satisfaction in a multicentre UK
National Health Service (NHS) sample and explore associated factors.
A questionnaire-based survey (n = 2258) was conducted in
100 wards and 36 community teams in England. Measures included a set of
frequently used indicators of staff morale, and measures of perceived job
characteristics based on Karasek's demand–control–support model.
Staff well-being and job satisfaction were fairly good on most
indicators, but emotional exhaustion was high among acute general ward
and community mental health team (CMHT) staff and among social workers.
Most morale indicators were moderately but significantly intercorrelated.
Principal components analysis yielded two components, one appearing to
reflect emotional strain, the other positive engagement with work. In
multilevel regression analyses factors associated with greater emotional
strain included working in a CMHT or psychiatric intensive care unit
(PICU), high job demands, low autonomy, limited support from managers and
colleagues, age under 45 years and junior grade. Greater positive
engagement was associated with high job demands, autonomy and support
from managers and colleagues, Black or Asian ethnic group, being a
psychiatrist or service manager and shorter length of service.
Potential foci for interventions to increase morale include CMHTs, PICUs
and general acute wards. The explanatory value of the
demand–support–control model was confirmed, but job characteristics did
not fully explain differences in morale indicators across service types
World Mental Health Survey data demonstrate that a high proportion of people
who are suicidal receive no treatment and that, contrary to previous
assumptions, attitudes to treatment constitute greater barriers to
help-seeking than do stigma or structural/financial constraints. We explore
how suicide-prevention policy-makers might respond to Bruffaerts et
Alternatives to traditional in-patient services may be associated with a better experience of admission.
To compare patient satisfaction, ward atmosphere and perceived coercion in the two types of service, using validated measures.
The experience of 314 patients in four residential alternatives and four standard services were compared using the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ), the Service Satisfaction Scale – Residential form (SSS–Res), the Ward Atmosphere Scale (WAS) and the Admission Experience Scale (AES).
Compared with standard wards, service users from alternative services reported greater levels of satisfaction (mean difference CSQ 3.3, 95% CI 1.8 to 4.9; SSS–Res 11.4, 95% CI 5.0 to 17.7). On the AES, service users in alternatives perceived less coercion (mean difference –1.3, 95% CI –1.8 to –0.8) and having more ‘voice’ (mean difference 0.9, 95% CI 0.6 to 1.2). Greater autonomy, more support and less anger and aggression were revealed by WAS scores. Differences in CSQ and AES scores remained significant after multivariable adjustment, but SSS–Res results were attenuated, mainly by detention status.
Community alternatives were associated with greater service user satisfaction and less negative experiences. Some but not all of these differences were explained by differences in the two populations, particularly in involuntary admission.
Little is known about the preferences and experiences of people with mental illness in relation to residential alternatives to hospital.
To explore patients' subjective experiences of traditional hospital services and residential alternatives to hospital.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 40 purposively selected patients in residential alternative services who had previously experienced hospital in-patient stays. Transcripts were coded and analysed for thematic content.
Patients reported an overall preference for residential alternatives. These were identified as treating patients with lower levels of disturbance, being safer, having more freedom and decreased coercion, and having less paternalistic staff compared with traditional in-patient services. However, patients identified no substantial difference between their relationships with staff overall and the care provided between the two types of services.
For patients who have acute mental illness but lower levels of disturbance, residential alternatives offer a preferable environment to traditional hospital services: they minimise coercion and maximise freedom, safety and opportunities for peer support.
The quest for alternatives to traditional psychiatric wards has a long history but methodological difficulties have limited research into their benefits. Two UK studies suggest that community-based residential alternatives are valued by service users and may be cost-effective. Establishing and/or maintaining such services, where they function as an integrated component of local acute care pathways, is a justifiable decision. However, our findings do not provide compelling evidence that they should be seen as essential in every catchment area. Quality of therapeutic relationships appears central to service user experiences, and future research should explore how this may be improved in both hospital and community settings.
Residential alternatives to standard psychiatric admissions are associated with shorter lengths of stay, but little is known about the impact on readmissions.
To explore readmissions, use of community mental health services and costs after discharge from alternative and standard services.
Data on use of hospital and community mental health services were collected from clinical records for participants in six alternative and six standard services for 12 months from the date of index admission.
After discharge, the mean number and length of readmissions, use of community mental health services and costs did not differ significantly between standard and alternative services. Cost of index admission and total 12-month cost per participant were significantly higher for standard services.
Shorter lengths of stay in residential alternatives are not associated with greater frequency or length of readmissions or greater use of community mental health services after discharge.
Acute psychiatric wards have been the focus of widespread dissatisfaction. Residential alternatives have attracted much interest, but little research, over the past 50 years.
Our aims were to identify all in-patient and residential alternatives to standard acute psychiatric wards in England, to develop a typology of such services and to describe their distribution and clinical populations.
National cross-sectional survey of alternatives to standard acute in-patient care.
We found 131 services intended as alternatives. Most were hospital-based and situated in deprived areas, and about half were established after 2000. Several clusters with distinctive characteristics were identified, ranging from general acute wards applying innovative therapeutic models, through clinical crisis houses that are highly integrated with local health systems, to more radical voluntary sector alternatives. Most people using the alternatives had a previous history of admission, but only a few community-based services accepted compulsory admissions.
Alternatives to standard acute psychiatric wards represent an important, but previously undocumented and unevaluated, sector of the mental health economy. Further evidence is needed to assess whether they can improve the quality of acute in-patient care.
Despite concern about the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) in people with severe mental illness (SMI), there is little systematic research on CHD risk factors in this population.
To compare the main risk factors for CHD in people with and without SMI in primary care, to investigate the role of socio-economic variables, and to examine any association between antipsychotic medication and CHD risk.
In total, 75 of 182 general practice patients with SMI and 150 of 313 such patients without SMI attended the interview. SMI was associated with: raised 10-year CHD risk scores (OR= 1.8, 95% CI 1.0–3.1); high-density-lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol levels <l.0 mmol/l (OR=4.0, 95% CI 1.5–10.7); raised cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratios (OR=1.8, 95% CI 1.0–3.2); diabetes mellitus (OR=3.8, 95% CI 1.1–13.3) and smoking (OR=3.0, 95% CI 1.7–3.4). These associations varied significantly with age. Adjustment for unemployment did not fully explain the associations.
Excess risk factors for CHD are not wholly accounted for by medication or socio-economic deprivation. There is an urgent need for CHD screening and for relevant interventions for smoking cessation and diabetes, as well as advice on diet and exercise, in patients with SMI.