This paper describes the administrative process by which the Ottawa General Hospital (OGH) closed 6 beds and used the staff and space resources thus released to set up an acute day hospital (ADH) for the treatment of 8 acutely ill psychiatric patients. Outcome data are presented on the first 160 patients admitted to the ADH.
Demographic and clinical information including diagnostic (DSM-III-R; Global Assessment of Functioning [GAF]) and questionnaire data (Symptom Checklist-90 Revised [SCL-90R]; Beck Depression Inventory [BDI]; State-Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI]; patient satisfaction) were obtained from 160 ADH patients at admission and discharge. Forty-two of these patients provided follow-up data 3 to 6 months postdischarge. The outcome of ADH patients was compared with that of a retrospectively obtained random sample (n = 100) of inpatients on selected diagnostic and demographic variables.
On clinician-rated and self-report clinical scales, ADH patients showed significant clinical improvement reflected in higher GAF scores and less psychological distress, depression, and anxiety at discharge relative to admission. There were no significant group differences in outcome indices except for shorter length of stay in the ADH group compared with inpatients. The ADH group rated the program highly in help received and quality of service. Short-term follow-up showed that gains made during treatment were maintained 3 to 6 months later.
These results show that a time-limited day hospital program is clinically effective for acutely ill psychiatric patients and leads to a more efficient use of inpatient resources. We believe that partial hospitalization for the treatment of acute psychiatric disorders may have wide application in psychiatric hospital practice.