Is readmission a valid indicator of the quality of inpatient psychiatric care?

J Behav Health Serv Res. 2007 Apr;34(2):137-50. doi: 10.1007/s11414-007-9055-5. Epub 2007 Apr 17.


Early return to hospital is a frequently measured outcome in mental health system performance monitoring yet its validity for evaluating quality of inpatient care is unclear. This study reviewed research conducted in the last decade on predictors of early readmission (within 30 to 90 days of discharge) to assess the association between this indicator and quality of inpatient psychiatric care. Only 13 studies met inclusion criteria. Results indicated that risk is greatest in the 30-day period immediately after discharge. There was modest support that attending to stability of clinical condition and preparing patients for discharge can protect against early readmission. A history of repeated admission increases risk, suggesting that special efforts are required to break the revolving door cycle. The authors identified a need for more standardization in measurement of client status at discharge and related care processes, more intervention studies on discharge practices, and studies of the effect of community care on early readmission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals, Psychiatric*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Time