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J Clin Psychiatry. 2000 Jun;61(6):418-21.

The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale as an acute inpatient outcome measurement tool: a pilot study.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Medical School, Houston, USA.



Recent guidelines for length of stay at psychiatric hospitals may have an unacceptable impact on patient outcome at discharge. A valid measurement tool is needed to evaluate significant patient change during brief hospitalization, typically 7 days, and to provide early prediction of unfavorable short-term outcome. This study examines the utility of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) as such a tool.


During a 2-month testing period, the BPRS was administered to 87 successive adults admitted to an acute general psychiatric inpatient unit at admission, 2 days, 7 days, and weekly thereafter until discharge. Total BPRS scores and 4 subscores were used in the data analysis, which included paired t tests and correlation analyses.


Mean BPRS total scores demonstrate significant (p < .001) patient improvement at days 2, 7, and 14 of the hospital stay. Changes in subscores and their relationship to eventual outcome vary across diagnostic groups.


The BPRS appears to be a useful inpatient outcome measure since it is capable of demonstrating significant change during brief stays of 1 week or less. Subscale scores may provide more specific prediction of change and may help clarify outcome in individual patients who show insignificant change by total score.

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