CPFT staff worked with experts by experience to explore the factors for psychiatric admissions before and after the pandemic, publishing their study in an international journal.
The study team, led by CPFT psychiatrist Dr Robyn McCarron, investigated the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people being admitted to local hospitals for mental health care. They reviewed case notes (with personal details removed) from 49 admissions during the first stages of the pandemic to find the reasons behind them, compared to 49 cases from previous years.
They found that overall, psychiatric admissions resulted from a combination of mental illness severity, level of risk, social stressors, community treatment issues, and physical health concerns.
Although there were less psychiatric admissions in total during the initial stages of the pandemic, relatively more of these admissions were for women, older adults, and mood disorders, with more related to social isolation and routine changes, and greater impact on people living alone and those with mood disorders. Homelessness and substance misuse appeared to have a lower impact on admissions during the initial phase of the pandemic.
Co-author and consultant liaison adult psychiatrist Dr Fiona Thompson (left, above) said: “From the start of the pandemic, we really needed to understand the impact of Covid-19 and changes to care delivery on people who were most likely to become severely unwell.
"Our findings highlight that social factors make a huge difference, and interventions to reduce psychiatric admissions should focus on building resilience and social connectedness. We’re really grateful to our experts by experience for their help, sharing insights and feedback to shape this study.”
Six experts with lived experience of a range of mental health conditions and psychiatric admissions were recruited from the Trust’s Service User and Carer Research Group. They helped to design the study and coding framework for assessment, as well as interpreting the results.
Expert by experience Ginny Russell (right, above) said: “For me and for loved ones, the lockdowns had a major effect on mental health and access to treatment, so this study was highly meaningful.
"It has been important to my own wellbeing to know that, building on my experiences, I have contributed to research that will help keep others who suffer mental health conditions safer in future lockdowns. Helping people develop resilience and connect to strong social support could protect them against the destabilising effects of any treatment disruption.”
The full article ‘Factors in Psychiatric Admissions: Before and During the Covid-19 Pandemic’ was published in Clinical Neuropsychiatry and is available online to read here:
This study was conducted as a service evaluation at CPFT supported by the Clinical Improvement and Effectiveness department and Clinical Systems team - using Trust databases and electronic patient records, in collaboration with University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry.
If you are interested in shaping research at CPFT, please consider joining our Service User and Carer Research Group (SUCRG). No previous experience is required, and you will be offered training and support. Find out more at: www.cpft.nhs.uk/shape-our-research and contact CPFT user and carer research and development manager Iliana Rokkou at: email@example.com.