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Attempts to reduce high utilisation of psychiatric inpatient care by targeting the critical time of hospital discharge have been rare. In Germany, until now no such intervention has been implemented, let alone subjected to a clinical trial.
“Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Needs-Oriented Discharge Planning and Monitoring for High Utilisers of Psychiatric Services” (NODPAM) is a multicentre RCT conducted in five psychiatric hospitals in Germany (Günzburg, Düsseldorf, Regensburg, Greifswald, and Ravensburg). Subjects asked to provide informed consent to participate have to be of adult age with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia or affective disorder, and a defined high utilisation of psychiatric care during two years prior to the current admission. Subjects are asked to provide detailed outcome data at four measurement points during a period of 18 months. Recruitment (which started in April 06) is still ongoing. Thus, baseline data of about 350 participants will be presented.
Recruitment has been quite successful and the study has been generally well accepted by participating patients and their clinicians in in- and outpatient treatment settings. Subjects showed substantial initial impairment on outcome measures (e.g. needs, psychopathology, quality of life, and level of functioning) and high utilisation of mental health care. Further results on conduct and feasibility of the trial will be presented.
The first phase of this mulicentre trial was promising. The potential of this study to strengthen the integration of mental health care provision in Germany will be discussed.
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