Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
versão On-line ISSN 1414-431X
HALLAK, J.E.C.; CRIPPA, J.A.S.; VANSAN, G. e ZUARDI, A.W.. Diagnostic profile of inpatients as a determinant of length of stay in a general hospital psychiatric unit. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2003, vol.36, n.9, pp. 1233-1240. ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2003000900014.
The aim of this study was to determine if the diagnostic profile of inpatients of a psychiatric unit in a general hospital influences the length of stay. The results of a retrospective survey comprising the first 16 years of operation of the Psychiatric Unit of the Ribeirão Preto General Hospital (PURP) showed that the progressive increase observed in the length of stay correlated with the increase in percentage of schizophrenia diagnosis, after the 8th year of hospital operation, and of affective disorders, after the 12th year. The length of hospitalization kept increasing until the 16th year, even though there was no change in the diagnostic profile of the patients admitted to the unit. In a prospective study encompassing the next six months, 61 inpatients were evaluated with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). The results showed that 82% of the inpatients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for the schizophrenic or affective disorder spectrum at admission, with a discharge rate slower than for other diagnoses, although the length of hospitalization did not significantly differ among diagnostic categories. The results further demonstrated that in every diagnostic category more than 50% of the patients stayed in hospital for more than one week after reaching a BPRS score equal to 6, indicative of discharge. Overall, these data suggest that the increase in length of hospitalization may be due to a higher percentage of patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and affective disorder admitted to the PURP. In addition, patients with low symptomatic levels remained in hospital longer than they should have.
Palavras-chave : Psychiatric unit; General hospital; Diagnostic category; Length of stay.