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Data from the Discharge Abstract Database of the Canadian Institute for Health Information were used to examine acute care hospital days for patients with a mental condition coded as the most responsible diagnosis or a comorbid diagnosis. In 2009/2010, patients with a mental diagnosis represented 11.8% of people who had been hospitalized and 25.5% of acute care hospital days. Those for whom the mental condition was the most responsible diagnosis accounted for 9.0% of hospital days (1.2 million), and those with a comorbid mental diagnosis accounted for 16.5% of hospital days (2.3 million). Mental diagnoses were often associated with physical conditions. The average hospitalization with a mental diagnosis was two and a half times as long as the average for hospitalizations without a mental diagnosis. About one-quarter of hospital days with a mental diagnosis were designated as alternate level of care days.
Alternate level of care, comorbidity, hospital records, length of hospital stay, mental disorders, mental health, mental patients
Despite an increase in population-based studies of mental health at the national and provincial levels, substantial gaps remain in understanding the impact of mental illness on the use of health care services. Reports tend to focus on mental conditions as a most responsible diagnosis and provide limited information about mental illness as a co-morbidity. However, psychiatric disorders can accompany physical conditions, and many physical conditions increase the risk of poor mental health. The combination of physical and mental conditions may result in higher rates of health care use, because mental illness often complicates help-seeking, diagnosis and treatment, and may influence prognosis. [Full Text]
Helen Johansen (1-613-722-5570; email@example.com) was formerly with and Philippe Finès (1-514-283-6847; firstname.lastname@example.org) is currently with Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6.
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