Although involuntary commitment (IC) is a serious intervention in psychiatry and must always be regarded as an emergency measure, the knowledge about influencing factors is limited. Aims were to test the hypothesis that duration of involuntary hospitalization and associated parameters differ for IC’s mandated by physicians with or with less routine experience in psychiatric emergency situations. Duration of involuntary hospitalization and duration until day-passes of 508 patients with IC at the University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich were analyzed using a generalized linear model. Durations of involuntary hospitalization and time until day-passes were significantly shorter in patients referred by physicians with less routine experience in psychiatric emergency situations than compared to experienced physicians. Shorter hospitalizations following IC by less-experienced physicians suggest that some IC’s might be unnecessary. A specific training or restriction to physicians being capable of conducting IC could decrease the rate of IC.

Florian Hotzy, Isabelle Kieber-Ospelt, Andres R. Schneeberger, Matthias Jaeger, Sebastian Olbrich
Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, March 2018, Volume 45, Issue 2, 31 July 2017