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Mental Illness Bed Provision Tied to Involuntary Admissions

Largest increase in involuntary admissions seen one year after decrease in mental illness beds

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- A reduction in the provision of mental illness beds is associated with an increase in involuntary admissions rates, especially with a one year time lag, according to a study published online July 5 in BMJ.

Patrick Keown, M.R.C.Psych., from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, U.K., and colleagues investigated the association between the provision of mental illness beds by the National Health Service (NHS) in England, and the rate of involuntary admission under the Mental Health Act, after controlling for secular trends in both. Data were collected from the NHS Information Center on bed closures and subsequent involuntary hospital admissions between 1988 and 2008. Partial correlation coefficients were calculated, and the time lag (interval) over which the largest association was identified between these variables was assessed.

The investigators found that the rate of involuntary admissions per annum, and the provision of mental illness beds, showed a synchronous increase and decrease of more than 60 percent, respectively. Introducing a time lag of one year, with reduction in beds preceding increases in involuntary admissions (cross correlation, −0.60), showed the strongest association between the variables. Restricted analysis of civil (non-forensic) involuntary admissions and non-secure mental illness beds showed an increase in the magnitude of these associations.

"The annual reduction in provision of mental illness beds was associated with the rate of involuntary admissions over the short to medium term," the authors write. "This study provides a method for predicting rates of involuntary admissions and what may happen in the future if bed closures continue."

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