This study investigated the characteristics of patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders presenting to emergency departments (ED) for psychiatric treatment during the first six months of the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne. This cross-sectional data-base study included adult patients in the North West Area Mental Health Service’s catchment area who had visited two emergency departments (EDs) during the study period (March 16-September 16, 2020) and the control period (March 16-September 16, 2019). Compared to the control period (n = 467), the lockdown period (n = 451) had a 6.8% more psychotic disorders. This increase was particularly noted for schizophrenia and acute transient psychosis. In a sub-analysis of psychotic disorder group alone, compared to the control period, more patients were discharged to the community in the lockdown period. In another sub-analysis, compared to the mood disorder group, psychotic disorder group included more patients in 26-35 and 46-55 age groups, men, emergency triage category, and hospital admissions and higher mean duration of ED stay in the lockdown period. Overall, patients with psychotic disorders had increased ED presentations and appeared to be in an emergency state when they present to ED during the lockdown.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.