African Journal of Psychiatry

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An analysis of acute admissions to a general hospital psychiatric unit

Mahomed Yusuf H Moosa, Fatima Yasmien Jeenah


Rapid turnover of patients in a general hospital psychiatric unit demands stabilization and discharge as soon as possible. It is likely that patients are being prematurely discharged because of this pressure.
Aim: The study sought to analyse admissions to an acute psychiatric unit with a view to determining the demographic distribution of the patients, duration of stay, and patterns of substance abuse with specific emphasis on patients discharged within seven days of admission.
Method: One hundred and thirty five consecutive patients, 18 years and older, who were admitted to the unit during a three-month period were included in the study. The data was obtained from a questionnaire, completed by the doctor on discharge.
Results: Nearly 40% of the patients were discharged within seven days of admission. Most of the patients were youthful, substance abusing males with a past psychiatric history of either an Axis I or a co-morbid Axis II disorder, and had defaulted on their regular follow up.
Conclusion: The profile of the short stay admissions suggests that our concerns regarding premature discharge are unjustified.

Keywords: Acute admissions, Psychiatric, General hospital

South African Psychiatry Review - November 2002

AJOL African Journals Online