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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


OLIVEIRA, Graziella Lage; CAIAFFA, Waleska Teixeira  and  CHERCHIGLIA, Mariangela Leal. Mental health and continuity of care in healthcare centers in a city of Southeastern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.4, pp.707-716.  Epub July 03, 2008. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze factors associated with the continuity of mental health care provided for patients referred to healthcare centers. METHODS: A follow-up study was carried out with 98 patients assisted between 2003 and 2004. These patients were referred to eight healthcare centers with mental health teams located in the catchment area of a mental health reference venter in the city of Belo Horizonte, Southeastern Brazil. Social, demographic, clinical and continuity variables were described and then compared using the chi-square test. RESULTS: After referral, 35 patients did not attend the first visit in the healthcare center. Of those who did, 38 continued in treatment. To return to the reference center for a new visit after referral and to have had more than two referrals were factors that facilitated continuity of care. No individual characteristic was associated with continuity. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that there is a gap in the proposal for the line of care. Treatment continuity seems to be more related to service factors than to patients' characteristics.

Keywords : Continuity of Patient Care; Community Mental Health Services; Mental Health Services; Patient Care Management.

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