Inpatient management of borderline personality disorder at Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg
Objective: The aim of this report was to establish a profile of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) admitted to the acute inpatient psychiatric assessment unit at the Helen Joseph Hospital, in Johannesburg, over the course of 1 year.
Methods: A retrospective record review was conducted to investigate the prevalence, demographics, reasons for admission, treatment, length of stay and follow-up of a group of inpatients during 2010 with a diagnosis of BPD, based on DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria, allocated on discharge.
Results: Considering evidence retrospectively, the quality of the BPD diagnosis allocated appeared adequate. Statistical analysis revealed findings mainly in keeping with other reports, for example, that patients with BPD are above-average users of resources who make significantly more use of emergency services and that they generally do not adhere well to their scheduled outpatient follow-up arrangements. The longer average length of inpatient stay of this group with BPD, however, exceeded the typically brief period generally recommended for acute inpatient containment and emergency intervention.
Conclusion: Implementation of targeted prevention and early intervention strategies, based on systematised programmes such as dialectical behavioural therapy and mentalisation based therapy, may be useful in addressing these problems experienced with integrating the in- and outpatient management of BPD.