Many Schizophrenics Seek Care in Hospital ERs

The CDC report found that one-third of schizophrenia-linked visits to the ER were eventually admitted to the hospital.
The CDC report found that one-third of schizophrenia-linked visits to the ER were eventually admitted to the hospital.

(HealthDay News) — A new report finds that, too often, under-medicated Americans suffering from schizophrenia end up seeking care in the nation's hospital emergency rooms.

The report, issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that between 2009 and 2011, over 382,000 visits to ERs were recorded for people aged 18 to 64 with schizophrenia.

Many of these cases involved people on Medicaid who were either homeless or living in places such as nursing homes or group homes, the researchers said.

The new study used 2009-2011 hospital visits data from medical centers across the United States. It found that, for patients aged 18 to 64, men had double the rate of visits to an ER for schizophrenia compared to women.

The rate of homelessness in this patient population was also high. According to the report, 7.5 percent of visits to emergency rooms for schizophrenia were made by homeless people, compared to less than 1 percent of visits made for other conditions.

The percentage of ER visits linked to schizophrenia that involved people living in non-private residences — places such as nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, group homes, prisons and assisted-living centers — was also much higher when compared to ER visits for conditions other than schizophrenia, the researchers said.

The CDC report found that a schizophrenia-linked visit to the ER often meant at least temporary institutionalization. For example, nearly one-third of such cases were admitted to the hospital, and nearly 17 percent of patients were transferred to a psychiatric hospital — rates that were much higher than ER visits for other causes.

Reference

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Emergency Department Visits Related to Schizophrenia Among Adults Aged 18–64: United States, 2009–2011. NCHS Data Brief No. 215. Released September 2015.

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