Background: Many studies have addressed changes in psychiatric consultation variables, but data from newly-opened hospitals is scarce. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate changes in consultation-liaison services in the first five years of operation of a newly-opened hospital and compare this with similar data from established hospitals.
Methods: Psychiatric consultations in the first five years of operation of a new hospital were reviewed and psychiatric variables, including reason for referral, psychiatric diagnosis, physical condition leading to hospitalization, and recommended management, were collected.
Results: There were 1,610 psychiatric consultations in these five years, and the overall consultation rate was 1.30% of all admissions. The rate was relatively low in the first year, especially from the surgery department, but increased and then stabilized. The reasons for most referrals did not change significantly over the 5 years. Depression was the most frequent reason for referral and the major diagnosis during the study period. Although the diagnosis of depression increased significantly over the years, depression as a reason for referral did not increase consistently. A drug prescription was the most frequent recommendation, and medications shifted to more atypical antipsychotics and newer antidepressants over the study period.
Conclusions: Most variables were stable, but there were still some interesting findings. The consultation rate was lower during the first year of the study period than later. Underdetection and underrecognition of depression persisted over the 5 years. Further comprehensive postgraduate education for physicians and arrangment of timely consultations are needed. These results could offer information on psychiatric consultations to other hospitals that are going to open in the future.