CRIS blog: Common reasons for general hospital admissions in people with serious mental illnesses

Professor Rob Stewart has been academic lead for CRIS since its development in 2007-8. He is Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology & Clinical Informatics at King's College London and has recently been appointed a NIHR Senior Investigator. 

Over the last 10 years, valuable information on CRIS has been used in a large number of projects covering nearly all areas of mental health and healthcare. One of the most important fields of research activity has been to investigate and highlight the general health inequalities faced by people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This began with early demonstrations of higher mortality and 10-20 years lower life expectancy (still the primary source of this information in the UK) and has moved on more recently to investigate the different reasons for lost life years and particular questions such as whether specific medications may be protective, and whether associations with particular causes of death, such as cancer, are explained by delayed diagnosis or less adequate treatment in a UK context.

It is also very important to understand wider health issues beyond mortality. With this in mind, we have recently investigated and published the most common reasons for general hospital care in people with serious mental illnesses. One of the most important findings was that nearly all the most common reasons for admission in this group were also more frequent than what would be expected in the general population. The common reasons for admission are listed in full in the report, but include specific conditions, such as chest and urinary tract infections, conditions possibly indicating poor healthcare like dental caries, medically unexplained symptoms like pain in the chest or stomach, and conditions known to be common in the populations we serve, such as diabetes and sickle cell disorder.

This highlights the importance of inequalities experienced across multiple health problems and suggests that single solutions focused on particular disorders are not likely to have as much impact as interventions which improve multiple outcomes.

The study was led by Dr Nisha Jayatilleke who has been supported in her PhD studentship by the NIHR Maudsley BRC. Nisha has been co-supervised by Dr Chin-Kuo Chang, a longstanding member of the CRIS team as a senior researcher and lecturer who has led much of our work on physical health inequalities. Dr Chang has taken up an academic position at the University of Taipei in Taiwan, but we are pleased to be able to maintain collaborations into the future.

Tags: CRIS - NIHR - NIHR Maudsley BRC -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 9 Mar 2018, 09:40 AM

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