, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 4-16

Assertive outreach for frequent users of psychiatric hospitals: A meta-analysis

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A meta-analysis was conducted on nine studies of an assertive outreach model for frequent users of psychiatric hospitals. Four studies used experimental or quasi-experimental designs and five used pre-post designs. Findings at one-year follow-up were examined for retention in community mental health services, psychiatric inpatient days, quality of life, and client level of functioning. Eighty-four percent of assertive outreach clients were still receiving mental health services after one year, compared to 54% of controls. In two thirds of the programs, the mean annual rate of inpatient days declined by 50% or more. The overall experimental effect size for quality of life was negligible, although changes over time for assertive outreach clients were more encouraging. Similarly, improvement in level of functioning was found for assertive outreach clients. The study examining experimental differences in level of functioning obtained a nonsignificant moderate effect.