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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 49 (2007) 9, 623 - 628

New research

Who are the 'no-shows' and why don't they turn up?

C.W. Korrelboom, I.P.A.M. Huijbrechts, D. Zirar, T.O. Hoffman

No-show is a problem in mental health care.
aim To obtain insight into the characteristics of patients who fail to appear at their intake appointments, to find out their reasons for not turning up, and thereby, if possible, to identify aspects of the intake procedures that may require adaptation.
method In a prospective study based on 333 patients, we compared the characteristics of patients who failed to show up for the intake procedure with those of patients who did show up. Via a telephone interview we asked the 'no-shows' why the hadn't come.
results The number of 'no-shows' was lower than expected and we found only two very small differences: patients with a non-western background were less likely to turn up, as were patients whose appointments were later in the day, mainly around lunchtime. Via the telephone interview we found that most of the 'no-shows' still had felt unwell and blamed themselves for not turning up. They still wanted to be given professional help.
conclusion No-show at intake appears to be less of a problem than expected. It seems a good idea to approach patients after they have missed appointments, because 'no-shows' still have serious symptoms and are still eager to receive professional help. It will probably be worthwhile conducting a similar investigation among 'no-shows' once they have begun to receive treatment.

keywords culture, first appointments, no-show