The following is the summary of “A comparison of clinical characteristics of psychiatric inpatients in three hospitals from Western China and America” published in the January 2023 issue of Psychiatry by  Jia, et al.

Differences may influence the clinical characteristics of mental inpatients in social and cultural backgrounds and health systems between countries. The first of its kind, this study compared the clinical characteristics of mental inpatients in 3 hospitals in Western China with the United States. About 3 hospitals, 1 in the United States and 2 in Western China, contributed 905 and 1,318 patients, respectively. In order to accurately capture the demographic and clinical details of their inpatients, researchers followed a standardized protocol and data collection procedure.

Hospitals in the 2 nations were found to have substantial variances. In China, positive symptoms were the most common reason for hospitalization, while in the United States, suicidal ideation and self-injury were more commonly cited as the primary impetus for seeking medical attention. Additionally, there were significantly more inpatients with co-occurring substance abuse disorders in the American hospital (97.6% vs. 1.9%, P<0.001). In general, American patients had a shorter length of stay (LOS) than Chinese patients (20.7 ± 13.4 vs. 10.5  ±11.9). There was a significant difference between the antipsychotic drug doses utilized in American and Chinese hospitals (275.1 ± 306.99 mg vs. 238.3 ± 212.5 mg, P=0.002). In the American hospital, longer stays were substantially (P<0.05) associated with male sex, older age, retiree status, admission for physical symptoms, and higher antipsychotic medicine doses. 

Patients who were divorced, who had suicidal thoughts, who were admitted involuntarily, who presented with physical, depressive, or anxious symptoms, and who used greater dosages of antipsychotic medications tended to stay in hospitals for longer (P<0.05).  There were large differences in the clinical characteristics of inpatients between hospitals in Western China and the United States. While patients used more antipsychotic medication in the United States, the length of stay was much longer there. In both nations, a prolonged LOS was associated with admission because of physical symptoms and the administration of larger medication dosages.