A retrospective study comparing the length of admission of medium secure unit patients admitted in the three decades since 1985 [2018]

Aims and method
Admissions of patients to secure forensic hospitals are often lengthy. Previous research has examined factors associated with prolonged admission, but studies analysing admission data at a single medium secure unit (MSU) over a prolonged time period are lacking. We compared admission data for all patients admitted to a MSU in England during the years 1985, 1995, 2005 and 2012.

The median length of admission increased from 167 days in 1985 to 580 days in 2012, though not in the intervening cohorts. There have been changes in the discharge destination of patients, away from independent accommodation in the community towards further care or supported accommodation.

Clinical implications
The results suggest a change in the delivery of care. Further studies should be performed to assess whether the same trends exist at other sites. If these trends are also found elsewhere, this should trigger a specialty-wide discussion about admission length and its effects on bed availability.

Charles H. Earnshaw, Lucy Shaw, Deepu Thomas and Owen Haeney
BJPsych Bulletin, 19 November 2018