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Socio-economic differences in psychiatric in-patient care

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Lorant V, Kampfl D, Seghers A, Deliège D, Closon MC, Ansseau M. Socio-economic differences in psychiatric in-patient care.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2003: 107: 170–177. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003. Objective: 

We seek to investigate socio-economic differences in psychiatric in-patient care regarding admission, treatment and outcome. Method: 

This study is undertaken on a comprehensive and exhaustive psychiatric case register of all psychiatric in-patient care carried out in Belgium in 1997 and 1998 (n=144 754). Results: 

Lower socio-economic groups were more likely to be compulsorily admitted, to be cared for in a non-teaching or psychiatric hospital, to be admitted in a hospital with unexpectedly long average length of stay and to be admitted to a ward with a more severe case-mix. They were less likely to receive antidepressants and psychotherapies. The improvements in functioning and in symptoms were also less favourable for these groups. The lowest group had a higher risk of dying in the hospital. Conclusion: 

Psychiatric in-patient care is associated with moderate socio-economic differences in access, treatment and outcome. Further research is needed to clarify the causes of such disparities.

Keywords: accessibility of health services; assessment; hospitals; patient outcomes; psychiatric; socio-economic factors

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Health System Research, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium, 2: Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, CHU, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium and 3: Cliniques Saint Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: March 1, 2003


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