Acute-mental-health services receive hundreds of admissions every year. Some of these patients will continue to be case-managed by community mental-health teams on discharge from the acute unit while others will not remain in contact with the mental-health service. This study compares the findings of comprehensive interviews conducted with current and past patients of the community mental-health service 3 or more years following case closure from the community ambulatory service.Methods
Between 1 July 1999 and 30 June 2001, there were 2245 closed cases identified at Barwon Health. Letters of invitation to participate in a research project were sent to people who had suffered from psychotic illnesses, and had been case-closed by community mental-health services between the above dates and had not been in contact with the Community and Mental Health Service for at least 6 months. A second group of participants was recruited from people who had also been case-closed by community mental-health teams in Barwon Health during the 1999–2001 2-year-time window but whose cases had been re-opened and who were in case management with Barwon Health at the time of the study. All participants were interviewed using the Diagnostic Interview for Psychosis.Results
Letter responses were received from 17 men and 18 women, aged 40.7 ± 12.0 (mean ± SD), who were interviewed. A second group of 17 men and 12 women, aged 40.9 ± 9.6 (mean ± SD) of currently case-managed patients was interviewed. All interviewees reported a detailed history of mental illness. Persistent social dysfunction and impaired quality of life were reported in both groups.Conclusion
Patients suffering from psychotic disorders who had been case-closed by community mental-health teams and had been discharged to the care of their general practitioners or elsewhere continued to show evidence of significant impairment due to mental illness 3 years after being case-closed.