Dual Diagnosis: Examination of Service Use and Length of Stay During Psychiatric Hospitalization

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Abstract

Anecdotal reports suggest that persons with a dual diagnosis (mental retardation and psychiatric illness) admitted to acute psychiatric hospitals stay longer and require more services than individuals without mental retardation. To test these hypotheses, a questionnaire was completed for 64 people with dual diagnosis admitted to 10 psychiatric hospitals over 3 months. Multivariate analysis revealed that a diagnosis of mental retardation was not a predictor of length of stay. Use of 1-to-1 staffing was more likely, while arrangement of different community placement at discharge was less likely for persons with than without dual diagnosis. Additionally, age, diagnosis, symtomatology, living arrangement, insurance status, and service use distinguished the patient groups. Implications are discussed in the context of a need for further examination and training focused toward this population.