Characteristics of Individuals With Severe Mental Illness Who Use Emergency Services

Division of Adult Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Ángeles, California, United States
Community Mental Health Journal (Impact Factor: 1.03). 05/2005; 41(2):159-68. DOI: 10.1007/s10597-005-2650-0
Source: PubMed


Emergency services are both a safety net and a locus for acute treatment. While the population with severe, persistent mental illness uses emergency services at a high rate, few studies have systematically examined the causes of this service use. This study examines a random sample of 179 people who were high uti- lizers of services from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Interviews were conducted and 5 years of service use data were studied. Greater use of emergency services was associated with male gender, minority race, severe illness, homelessness, and less family support. Efforts to reduce emergency services need to improve access to appropriate community services, particularly for people who are homeless or lack family support.

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Available from: Matthew Chinman, Jul 01, 2014
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    • "Race/ethnicity has been found to be predictor of high service utilization in some (Sullivan et al. 1993; Young et al. 2005), but not all (Segal et al. 1998; Pasic et al. 2005) studies. In this study, we found that Latino race was associated with a decreased likelihood of being classified as an HU as was the ''other'' category that included Asian- American, Native-American, and other race. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) To investigate the individual- and system-level characteristics associated with high utilization of acute mental health services according to a widely-used theory of service use-Andersen's Behavioral Model of Health Service Use -in individuals enrolled in a large, public-funded mental health system; and (2) To document service utilization by high use consumers prior to a transformation of the service delivery system. We analyzed data from 10,128 individuals receiving care in a large public mental health system from fiscal years 2000-2004. Subjects with information in the database for the index year (fiscal year 2000-2001) and all of the following 3 years were included in this study. Using logistic regression, we identified predisposing, enabling, and need characteristics associated with being categorized as a single-year high use consumer (HU: >3 acute care episodes in a single year) or multiple-year HU (>3 acute care episodes in more than 1 year). Thirteen percent of the sample met the criteria for being a single-year HU and an additional 8% met the definition for multiple-year HU. Although some predisposing factors were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of being classified as a HU (younger age and female gender) relative to non-HUs, the characteristics with the strongest associations with the HU definition, when controlling for all other factors, were enabling and need factors. Homelessness was associated with 115% increase in the odds of ever being classified as a HU compared to those living independently or with family and others. Having insurance was associated with increased odds of being classified as a HU by about 19% relative to non-HUs. Attending four or more outpatient visits was an enabling factor that decreased the chances of being defined as a HU. Need factors, such as having a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other psychotic disorder or having a substance use disorder increased the likelihood of being categorized as a HU. Characteristics with the strongest association with heavy use of a public mental health system were enabling and need factors. Therefore, optimal use of public mental services may be achieved by developing and implementing interventions that address the issues of homelessness, insurance coverage, and substance use. This may be best achieved by the integration of mental health, intensive case management, and supportive housing, as well as other social services.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
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    • "This trend might be explained by a net migration of individuals with psychosis from rural to urban regions, in order to access urban-based psychiatric hospitals and/or specialist psychiatric care (Peen and Dekker, 2004; Mandersheid and Henderson, 1999). We found psychosis-related ED usage was higher for Black, non-Hispanic individuals, consistent with prior findings showing that racial minorities with severe mental illness exhibit greater use of EDs (Young et al., 2005). Our study has several limitations: VA hospitals were excluded; data do not permit analysis of repeat visitors; psychiatric diagnostic practice moved from use of DSM-III to DSM-IV during the study period, incorporating criteria changes for psychotic disorders. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mental health visits represented an increasing fraction of all Emergency Department (ED) visits in the U.S. between 1992 and 2001. This study used the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a 4-staged probability sample of ED visits from geographically diverse hospitals around the U.S., to assess the contribution of all psychosis-related visits to this overall trend. Unlike other mental-health-related ED visits, the rate of psychosis-related visits did not increase. This lack of change is notable in the context of dramatic changes in both healthcare financing and antipsychotic prescribing practices during this period. There was an unexpected decrease in Medicare-funded psychosis-related ED visits at a time of increasing Medicare enrollment overall. An important demographic trend over this decade was the increasing urbanization of psychosis-related ED visits coincident with a relative decrement in such visits within rural areas.
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    ABSTRACT: Up to 55% of the homeless population report health problems. They often use the emergency department (ED) to obtain care when the health needs are not urgent. Nurse-managed clinics have the potential to reduce nonurgent ED use and improve the health of the homeless. The purpose of this study was to establish baseline health data on homeless persons prior to attending a nurse-managed clinic.(1) This study was a cross-sectional, retrospective health survey of homeless clients at a nurse-managed clinic. A total of 110 participants completed a baseline health survey. Of these, 61% reported that prior to coming to the clinic, they used the ED as a source of health care. The most frequent medical diagnoses reported were substance use disorders, depression, back pain, hypertension, and asthma. Providing care for chronic conditions at a nurse-managed clinic has the potential to improve health and reduce use of the ED.
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