Psychiatric and social reasons for frequent rehospitalization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors attempted to identify factors that commonly contributed to the decision to rehospitalize patients who made heavy use of mental health services. Methods: The case notes of 50 patients with frequent readmissions to the South Australian Mental Health Services over a three- year period were examined to identify which of 15 factors most frequently contributed to hospital readmission. Results: Lack of insight or denial of illness was cited in 62.2 percent of the patients' 442 total admissions, followed by relationship problems (61.1 percent), suicidal ideation (44.8 percent), and noncompliance with medication (43.2 percent). When the 15 factors were combined into four major categories, social factors were found to contribute to 38.9 percent of admissions, followed by factors related to psychiatric and physical illness (31.1 percent), dangerousness to self or others (20.3 percent), and substance abuse (9.7 percent). Conclusions: The substantial contribution of social factors to the readmission of patients to acute mental health services is strong evidence that the mental health system must provide appropriate targeted resources and assertive, continuous case management to avoid social crises. Issues surrounding drug and alcohol abuse among heavy users of services must be actively addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-350
Number of pages4
JournalHospital and Community Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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