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Can Med Assoc J. 1977 Apr 23;116(8):876-81.

Psychiatric hospitalization in Ontario: the revolving door in perspective.


Ontario government statistics have indicated that during the 1960s the proportion of readmissions to psychiatric hospitals doubled to form two thirds of all admissions. Since this pertained to events rather than to individuals, a cohort of patients first admitted in 1969 was followed for 4 years to trace the pattern of readmission and the characteristics of patients at risk of readmission. Routinely returned data were linked and a sample from the greater metropolitan Toronto area was randomly selected. Of the cohort, 31% were readmitted, 8% three or more times. Age and diagnosis distinguished those readmitted. Most with multiple readmissions were under 25 years of age. Although diagnoses were equally distributed on first admission among psychotic, neurotic and other nonpsychotic disorders, with no significant change on readmission or multiple readmission, there was a predictably greater proportion of functional psychoses among the high-risk group and also an equal representation of personality, addictive and the remaining nonpsychotic conditions. The vulnerable few are identifiable early in their intermittent hospital career. It can be concluded that statistics suggesting that two thirds of admissions are readmissions are misleading.

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