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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 54 (2012) 9, 777 - 783

New research

Regional differences in the care and treatment of compulsory admissions in the Netherlands

A.I. Wierdsma, G.A.M. Driessen, H.M. Smeets, E. Visser

background In the Netherlands compulsory admissions are on the increase. However, there are regional differences even when demographic factors are taken into account.
aim To find out whether there are regional differences in the type and duration of care given to detainees.
method On the basis of case-register data for Groningen, South Limburg, Utrecht and Rotterdam, we monitored the psychiatric history and aftercare that followed emergency compulsory admissions and we analysed the differences between patient groups (‘old acquaintances’, ‘newcomers’ and ‘passers-by’).
results Almost 60% of patients were well known to the mental health care service and had previously received psychiatric care. 85% of the patients were still receiving care three months after admission. Even when patient and admission characteristics were taken into account, there were still regional variations in the type and length of mental health care episodes before and after compulsory admission.
conclusion The continuity of health care for emergency admissions in the context of the Dutch Mental Health Act varies from region to region. It remains to be seen whether the situation will change when the new Mental Health Act comes into force.

keywords aftercare, compulsory admission, patterns of care, regional differences