length of stay
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract This study assesses the impact of shortening the inpatient length of stay on status at discharge in patients with mania. Methods: The authors performed a chart review on 131 patients with discharge diagnoses of bipolar disorder, current episode manic type, admitted to the private attending service at Colorado Psychiatric Hospital between 1985 and 1995. In 1990, a new program (the alternatives program) that provides a continuum of acute care services and shorter inpatient lengths of stay was instituted. Retrospectively assessed GAF, CGI, treatment outcome rating scores, and length of stay (LOS) were compared for the prealternatives (1985–1989), early alternatives (1990–1992), and recent alternatives (1993–1995) program treatment eras. A progressive decrease in inpatient LOS, duration of the acute care episodes, and total service utilization was seen across eras. Despite the more recent shortening in LOS, no significant differences were seen in GAF and treatment outcome rating scores at discharge. GAF and treatment outcome rating scores on hospital days 3 and 7, however, suggested that patients were improving more rapidly in the more recent eras. Inpatient LOS and duration of the acute care episodes have significantly decreased over the last 10 years, but patients appear no more ill at discharge. The authors postulate that changes in psycho-pharmacologic practice and the inpatient treatment model may have facilitated the more rapid clinical improvement seen in the more recent eras. The authors caution that we need prospective studies that include postdischarge follow-up to assess further the impact of shorter inpatient stays on the posthospital course of manic patients.
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