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Psychosomatics. 2004 Nov-Dec;45(6):470-6.

Factors affecting the relationship between the timing of psychiatric consultation and general hospital length of stay.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine the factors affecting the timing of psychiatric consultations and length of stay in the current managed care era. It also assessed the relationships between the timing of consultations and demographic/clinical characteristics. Medical records of 541 consecutive psychiatric consultation patients at a university teaching hospital in 2001 were reviewed for demographic characteristics, lengths of stay, number of days from admission to consultation, specialty services requesting consultations, reasons for the referral given by the referring physicians, and all five axes of DSM-IV. Earlier consultations independently predicted shorter lengths of stay. Delayed consultations were seen more often in women; surgical patients; those seen with a request to assess depression; and those seen with a diagnosis of adjustment disorder, delirium, or no psychiatric disorder. Delay in psychiatric consultations continues to be associated with longer lengths of stay in the current managed care environment. It is now possible that early detection strategies for high-risk patients with behavioral health problems in the medical setting, such as use of the INTERMED, may lead to reduction in delayed psychiatric consultations and thus shorter lengths of stay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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