Objectives: The objective of this study was to identify the association between continuity of ambulatory psychiatric care after hospital discharge among psychiatric patients and readmission, mortality and suicide. Design: Nationwide nested case-control study. Settings: South Korea. Participants: Psychiatric inpatients. Interventions: Continuity of psychiatric outpatient care was measured from the time of hospital discharge until readmission or death occurred, using the continuity of care index. Main Outcome Measures: Readmission, all-cause mortality and suicides within 1-year post-discharge. Results: Of 18 702 psychiatric inpatients in the study, 8022 (42.9%) were readmitted, 355 (1.9%) died, and 108 (0.6%) died by suicide within 1 year after discharge. Compared with the psychiatric inpatients with a high continuity-of-care score, a significant increase in the readmission risk within 1 year after discharge was found in those with medium and low continuity of care scores. An increased risk of all-cause mortality within 1 year after hospital discharge was shown in the patients in the low continuity group, relative to those in the high-continuity group. The risk of suicide within 1 year after hospital discharge was higher in those with medium and low continuity of care than those with high continuity of care. Conclusion: The results of this study provide empirical evidence of the importance of continuity of care when designing policies to improve the quality of mental health care, such as increasing patient awareness of the importance of continuity and implementation of policies to promote continuity.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Medicine