Objective: The purpose of the study was to examine the inpatient and outpatient service use and 4-year outcomes of newly admitted psychotic patients during a period of rapid change in the provision of psychiatric services in a well-defined catchment area in New York State in the 1990s. Method: Subjects were 573 participants of the Suffolk County Mental Health Project. This group comprised patients with psychotic disorders first admitted between September 1989 and August 1995 to 12 inpatient facilities across Suffolk County, N.Y., and followed for up to 48 months. The subjects' service use, course of illness, symptomatic outcomes, suicide risk, homelessness risk, and satisfaction with care were compared across admission years. Results: The length of inpatient stays decreased significantly across the years. However, the number of outpatient visits and therapy sessions did not vary. Although the patients admitted in later years were more symptomatic at admission to their first hospitalization, their course and outcomes over the follow-up period were not worse and they were not less satisfied with their care, compared with the patients admitted in earlier years. Conclusions: The clinical characteristics of patients and the role of inpatient care in the management of patients with psychotic disorders gradually changed during the 1990s. These changes, however, were not associated with changes in the use of outpatient services or outcomes. Nevertheless, shorter hospital stays and the presence of more severely ill patients highlight the need for more attention to linkage to aftercare and enhancement of support networks in the community.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health