Long stay patients in a psychiatric hospital in Lagos, Nigeria
Objective: In the face of recently introduced government health reform and the dwindling number of available beds for acutely ill patients, a cross sectional study was carried out on long-stay patients at the 100 years old psychiatric hospital Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria with a view to discharging most of them. Method: Necessary consent was obtained from the Hospital Research and Ethical Committee. All the long-stay patients were evaluated with a specially designed proforma to elicit socio-demographic, clinical and long-stay variables. Further more, each of them had clinical assessment to make diagnosis in accordance with ICD - 10 and finally, the subjects were also assessed with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). Results: Fifty-one (51) subjects; that is, occupying 10.7% of the hospital functional beds fulfilled the criteria of long-stay. They included 36 (70.6%) males and 15(24.4%) females. The mean age was 47.3±16.5 years with age range of 18-92 years. The average length of stay was 11.4±15.0 years and range of 0.5 to 57 years; with significant gender difference (males higher than females) (t =3.51, p<0.02). The vast majority of the subjects were diagnosed with schizophrenia (84.3%), followed by mental retardation with seizure disorder (5.9%). One-third (33.3%) of the subjects had co-morbid physical pathologies most especially epilepsies, hypertension, Koch\'s disease, HIV/AIDS. Despite being on high doses of antipsychotics (conventional and/or atypical) the majority of the subjects (86.3%) exhibited poor mental state with BPRS scores of ≥10. The mean BPRS score was 23.6±22.0 and range of 4-56 with a significant gender difference (t = 3.66, p< 0.02). Conclusion: These patients would continue to require long-stay hospitalization despite been a burden to the study center; or, in the alternative provision of mid–way facilities for their rehabilitation.
Keywords: Long-stay; Psychiatric hospital; Patients; West-Africa; Discharge
African Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 11 (2) 2008 pp. 128-132