The Particulars: Patients can be discharged from psychiatric EDs with either prescheduled aftercare or dismissed without such instructions. Little is known about the differences in follow-up compliance with outpatient providers among these patients.
Data Breakdown: For a study, cognitively intact patients discharged from a psychiatric ED were randomized to either prescheduled outpatient follow-up care or no such care. All participants were recommended to seek follow-up care within 1 week of discharge. Patients without prescheduled follow-up care were twice as likely as the other group to be lost to follow-up. Among those not lost to follow-up, those with prescheduled follow-up care were six times more likely to be compliant. The barrier to compliance most frequently reported was transportation issues.
Take Home Pearls: Patients discharged from psychiatric EDs without scheduled aftercare appear to be more likely to be lost to follow-up when compared with those with prescheduled aftercare. These patients were also significantly more likely to be non-compliant with follow-up appointments.