Frequent Visits to a French Psychiatric Emergency Service: Diagnostic Variability in Psychotic Disorders

Department of Public Health, La Timone University Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille, 13 385 Marseille, France.
Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) (Impact Factor: 2.41). 08/2011; 62(8):966-70. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


This study examined characteristics of frequent visitors to a psychiatric emergency service in a French public teaching hospital over six years. Diagnostic variability of psychotic disorders was documented.
A retrospective review of the service's administrative and medical databases identified 1,285 patients with more than one visit during the period who were given at least one diagnosis of a psychotic disorder. A total of 317 patients with six or more visits (frequent visitors) were compared with 968 patients with between two and five visits (occasional visitors).
Frequent visitors were significantly more likely to be single and homeless and to have diagnostic variability, substance use disorders, and personality disorders. A total of 177 patients experienced diagnostic variability, which was found mainly in three diagnostic categories: schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder with psychotic features.
Future studies should further examine the link between increased use of emergency services and diagnostic variability.

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