Print version ISSN 0213-9111
MIGUEL, Marcos de; TORRIJOS, Mónica; ABAD, José María and LOU, Marta Luz. Dependency levels and health care services' utilization in psychiatric hospitals in Aragon (Spain). Gac Sanit [online]. 2004, vol.18, n.3, pp. 213-219. ISSN 0213-9111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112004000300009.
Objectives: To determine the characteristics of patients living in psychiatric hospitals in Aragon, to assess their dependency levels, and to analyze health care services' utilization by these patients. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study between July 1 and November 31. The questionnaire used was the Resident Assessment Instrument- Mental Health (RAI-MH). The sample consisted of 437 patients living in public psychiatric hospitals in Aragon. These hospitals provide care to chronically mentally ill patients and to patients undergoing rehabilitation. The Resource Utilization Group (RUG-I) system was used to classify patients by their dependency levels for activities of daily life (ADL).Results: Of the 437 patients, 259 (59.3%) were men with a mean age of 62.2 years. A total of 82.1% of the patients were classified as RUG-I group 1. Patients in groups 1 and 2 required more formal health care services. At least one visit by a psychiatrist was required by 25.3% of patients in group 1 and by 15.2% of those in group 2 compared with no visits by the other groups. Nursing interventions were more frequently required by patients in the more dependent groups. All of the of patients in groups 2 to 8 needed daily physical assistance for ADL vs. 26.3% of those in group 1. In the multivariate analysis, predictive variables were the hospital and type of unit. Conclusions: There is wide variation in health care services' utilization by patients living in psychiatric hospitals, which is related to dependency levels. Many psychiatric patients do not need formal psychiatric care. Health care professionals should assess the real needs of patients to provide each of them with appropriate care.
Keywords : Dependency levels; Services' utilization; Psychiatric hospitals; Activities of daily life.