Question: For adults who have been admitted to mental health inpatient settings, how effective is admission under the mental health act, compared to informal admission, for improving patient outcomes?


The evidence comes from one systematic review of mostly low quality studies which found that involuntary admitted patients tended to have worse outcomes than those who were voluntary admissions. Overall, involuntary patients had higher suicide rates, lower social functioning, longer length of stay, higher risks of readmission and were less satisfied with their treatment. The poor search strategy means that this might not fully reflect the current evidence, and as the authors suggest, further good quality research is needed in routine care settings.

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