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Inpatient Mental Healthcare before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

McGuire AB, Flanagan ME, Kukla M, Rollins AL, Myers LJ, Bass E, Garabrant JM, Salyers MP. Inpatient Mental Healthcare before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland). 2021 Nov 23; 9(12).

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Prior studies have demonstrated disruption to outpatient mental health services after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inpatient mental health services have received less attention. The current study utilized an existing cohort of 33 Veterans Health Affairs (VHA) acute inpatient mental health units to examine disruptions to inpatient services. It further explored the association between patient demographic, clinical, and services variables on relapse rates. Inpatient admissions and therapeutic services (group and individual therapy and peer support) were lower amongst the COVID-19 sample than prior to the onset of COVID-19 while lengths of stay were longer. Relapse rates did not differ between cohorts. Patients with prior emergent services use as well as substance abuse or personality disorder diagnoses were at higher risk for relapse. Receiving group therapy while admitted was associated with lower risk of relapse. Inpatient mental health services saw substantial disruptions across the cohort. Inpatient mental health services, including group therapy, may be an important tool to prevent subsequent relapse.

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