Determinants of length of stay for psychiatric inpatients: Analysis of a national database covering the entire Korean elderly population
Objective In a rapidly aging society, inappropriately long geropsychiatric inpatient hospitalization is a challenging concern for mental health policy-makers and researchers. This study aimed to investigate patient and institutional factors affecting geropsychiatric inpatient length of stay (LOS), providing an overview of current geropsychiatric health care system in South Korea.Methods This retrospective, population-based, cross-sectional study analysed nationwide reimbursement claim databases covering the entire elderly population of Korea between January 2005 and June 2006. Given the nested structure of the data, a multivariate multilevel regression analysis was performed.Results The average LOS was 128 days. Males, patients with schizophrenia, and those enrolled in a National Medical Care Aid program tended to have longer hospital stays. Patient age was negatively related to LOS. Institutional variables related to longer hospitalizations included a psychiatric hospital, a higher number of beds, fewer human resource employees, a higher proportion of male, oldest old, and patients with dementia.Conclusions Our results suggest that policies targeting geropsychiatric patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, enrolled in National Medical Care Aid programs, and admitted to psychiatric hospitals could reduce LOS. Additionally, the impact of the patient composition of a medical institution on LOS needs to be closely investigated.
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