Length of Involuntary Hospitalization Related to the Referring Physician’s Psychiatric Emergency Experience

  • Florian Hotzy
  • Isabelle Kieber-Ospelt
  • Andres R. Schneeberger
  • Matthias Jaeger
  • Sebastian Olbrich
Original Article


Although involuntary commitment (IC) is a serious intervention in psychiatry and must always be regarded as an emergency measure, the knowledge about influencing factors is limited. Aims were to test the hypothesis that duration of involuntary hospitalization and associated parameters differ for IC’s mandated by physicians with or with less routine experience in psychiatric emergency situations. Duration of involuntary hospitalization and duration until day-passes of 508 patients with IC at the University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich were analyzed using a generalized linear model. Durations of involuntary hospitalization and time until day-passes were significantly shorter in patients referred by physicians with less routine experience in psychiatric emergency situations than compared to experienced physicians. Shorter hospitalizations following IC by less-experienced physicians suggest that some IC’s might be unnecessary. A specific training or restriction to physicians being capable of conducting IC could decrease the rate of IC.


Coercion Involuntary commitment Involuntary admission Outpatient services 



No funding took place in this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Florian Hotzy, Isabelle Kieber-Ospelt, Andres R. Schneeberger, Matthias Jaeger, Sebastian Olbrich declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

In this study, we used and extended data based on a recently published study (Kieber-Ospelt et al. 2016) which was reviewed and approved by the Cantonal Ethics Commission of Zurich, Switzerland (Ref.-No. EK: 2012-0149; decision on 09.03.2012). For our study, we submitted an amendment which was approved by the Ethics Commission on 01.10.2015 (Amendment Ref.-No. EK: 2012-0149). Therefore this study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. Due to the retrospective study design formal consent was not required. All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Formal Consent

This is a retrospective study. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Research Involved Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and PsychosomaticsUniversity Hospital of Psychiatry ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Psychiatrische Dienste Graubuenden, Allgemeinpsychiatrische Tagesklinik St. MoritzSt. MoritzSwitzerland
  4. 4.Universitaere Psychiatrische Kliniken BaselBaselSwitzerland
  5. 5.Albert Einstein College of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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