New Cochrane Review! - 14 March 2014

A new Cochrane systematic review has been published looking into the length of stay in hospitals for those with severe mental illness.

The review aims to determine what length of stay in hospital is the most helpful and is now based on a 2012 search. Six randomised trials are included that compare short stay in hospital with either long stay in hospital or standard care. No differences were found between groups in readmission to hospital, mental state, leaving the study early, risk of death and people lost to follow-up. There was a significant difference favouring short-stay hospitalisation for social functioning. There was limited information that suggested that short-stay hospitalisation does not encourage a 'revolving door' pattern of admission to hospital and disjointed or poor care.

The plain language summary within the review states that "This should reassure people with mental illness coming into hospital that a short stay (of less than 28 days) means they are no more likely to be readmitted, to leave hospital abruptly, or to lose contact with services after leaving hospital than if they received long-stay care. Short-stay patients are also more likely to leave hospital on their planned discharge date and possibly have a greater chance of finding employment. For psychiatrists, policy makers and health professionals it is important to know that short-stay hospitalisation does not lead to a 'revolving door' pattern of admission to hospital and poor or fragmented care."

The full review can be found by the link below: