Efficacy of inpatient and home treatment in psychiatrically disturbed children and adolescents

Follow-up assessment of the results of a controlled treatment study
  • F. Mattejat
  • B. R. Hirt
  • J. Wilken
  • M. H. Schmidt
  • H. Remschmidt


In two German child and adolescent psychiatric treatment and research centers, a controlled treatment study was conducted in which two randomized treatment groups (in-patient treatment and home treatment) were compared. Subjects were children and adolescents with severe psychiatric disorders, for whom normal outpatient treatment was not sufficient (mean age of the patients was 11 years and 9 months at the beginning of treatment). The results showed no differences in therapy outcome between the two treatment modalities. In a further study, the results of which are presented here, a follow-up assessment (average follow-up interval: 3 years and 8 months) of the two treatment groups (follow-up sample of the inpatient treatment group: n=33; home treatment group: n=35) was untertaken in order to investigate the course of the psychiatric disturbances and the long-term effects of the treatments. As measurement categories for the outcome “adaption at school” and “number of marked symptoms” were used in pre-, post- and follow-up assessment. The most important results are 1) The number of marked psychiatric symptoms and the adaptation at school or work exhibit the same type of course over time. Post-treatment scores are much better when compared to pre-treatment scores, but decline slightly upon follow-up, although they remain significantly better than the pre-treatment scores. Thus, the study shows that improvements relating to the psychiatric symptoms are quite stable after several years. 2) There were no relevant differences between the treatment modalities “inpatient treatment” and “home treatment” in terms of effect-size upon follow-up, and in inferential analysis. Any tendency towards difference was in favor of home treatment. So the results give strong support to the conclusion that at least for a specific group of patients (about 15% of those patients usually treated in an inpatient setting) residential treatment can be replaced by home treatment and that the long-term therapeutic outcome of home treatment is stable and persistent. Thus, in terms of psychiatric care and clinical practice, our results provide empirical support to the idea that home treatment should be used more frequently and much more broadly in the future.

Key words

Residential treatment inpatient treatment home treatment outcome follow-up children and adolescents psychiatric disorders controlled treatment study therapy evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Mattejat
    • 1
  • B. R. Hirt
    • 1
  • J. Wilken
    • 1
  • M. H. Schmidt
    • 1
  • H. Remschmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryPhilipps-UniversityMarburgGermany

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