Psychiatric hospital service utilization of children and adolescents in state custody.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

PubMedID: 10087692

Leon SC, Uziel-Miller ND, Lyons JS, Tracy P. Psychiatric hospital service utilization of children and adolescents in state custody. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1999;38(3):305-10.
To examine factors related to psychiatric hospitalization decision and length of stay of wards of the illinois Department of Child and Family Services.

A prospective design was implemented using the Childhood Severity of Psychiatric Illness (CSPI), a reliable, quantitative measure of psychiatric severity and its mediating factors. The CSPI was completed by hospital screeners upon conclusion of their crisis interviews. In addition to completing the CSPI, workers reported on demographic information, DSM-IV diagnoses, prescreening living arrangements, and length of hospital stay.

CSPI variables could effectively predict decision to admit versus deflect. The overall accuracy of this statistically significant prediction model was 77.9%, which was replicated on a new sample. Factors associated with decision to hospitalize are clinical in nature; ratings of suicidality, dangerousness, and impulsivity contributed the most to the model. Predicting length of stay was only moderately successful. Despite achieving significance, the model accounted for just 15.1% of length of stay variance using a multiple regression. Factors associated with length of stay were largely nonclinical in nature: living arrangement stability, region of the hospitalization, and age.

These results can be used to assess how decisions regarding level and duration of care are currently being made as a point of departure for quality improvement efforts.