Economic impact of crisis intervention in emergency psychiatry: a naturalistic study

Eur Psychiatry. 2005 Dec;20(8):562-6. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2005.05.003. Epub 2005 Sep 2.


Objective: This is a naturalistic study comparing the outcomes of all emergency psychiatric interventions in the Hospital Center of Luxembourg during two periods of six months each, before and after the introduction of a crisis intervention program. The aim of the study was to investigate the clinical and economic impact of crisis intervention on psychiatric emergency admissions.

Methods: All subjects admitted to the emergency psychiatric unit during the two study periods were considered for participation. Data were collected retrospectively and comparisons were made between patients before (September 1, 2001 to February 28, 2002) and after (September 1, 2002 to February 28, 2003) crisis intervention programs were established.

Results: A comparison between the two patient groups demonstrated a significant decrease in the rate of voluntary hospitalizations after crisis intervention, and a significant increase in the number of patients with subsequent outpatient consultations. The cost increase due to ambulatory follow-ups was widely compensated for by the cost decrease due to hospitalization avoidance.

Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that crisis intervention leads to a shift from hospitalization to outpatient psychotherapeutic management in emergency psychiatric services, which has a significant economic impact.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crisis Intervention / economics*
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric / economics*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / economics*
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatry / economics*