Still Not Enough Places: Capacity in Acute Departments of Psychiatry. A Survey in 2003 and the Trend from 2002-2003
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 9/2004
This report presents the results of a survey of capacity 1 in acute departments of psychiatry in 2003, and describes the trend from 2002 to 2003. Only acute departments with responsibility for providing emergency services were included in the survey.
The occupancy rate in the survey week was 99 per cent in 2002 and 96 per cent in 2003. In 2003 this varied from 79 per cent in Mid Norway Health Authority to 112 per cent in Western Norway Health Authority. The occupancy rate was over 100 per cent in eight health trusts and lower than 90 per cent in ten health trusts.
For the country as a whole, as many as 13 per cent of patients were ready to be discharged in 2002 and 14 per cent in 2003. This varied from 8 per cent in Mid Norway Health Authority to 21 per cent in Southern Norway Health Authority.
During the survey week, a substantial proportion of units had patients who were placed in rooms other than patient rooms. Thirty-two per cent of units in 2002 and 40 per cent of units in 2003 reported that patients who should have had a single room had to share a room.
The conclusion is that there are still not enough places in acute departments. When the institutions utilize available space in the way that has been illustrated by the survey, there is reason to question whether the conditions for use of compulsory treatment are met.
1The surveys described in the report investigated capacity in acute departments of psychiatry by measuring the total number of patients in the departments and the number of “patients ready to be discharged” in the survey week.
“Patients ready to be discharged” are patients who have finished their treatment, who could already have been discharged from hospital, but who are still in hospital because they are waiting to be offered a place, for example, in a district psychiatric centre or in sheltered accommodation.