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Article   |    
A Checklist of Hospitalization Criteria for Use With Children
Anthony J. Costello; Mina K. Dulcan; Robert Kalas
Psychiatric Services 1991; doi:
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This work was supported in part by contract 278-81-0027(DB) from the National Institute of Mental Health.

University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655

Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh

1991 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Each year in the U.S. more than 130,000 children are hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. The decision to hospitalize a child is based on a complex set of factors. In this study, a 12-item checklist of criteria for hospitalization adapted by the authors was tested for its ability to predict hospitalization in a cohort of 389 children between the ages of two and 12 who were evaluated for either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Eighty-seven (22 percent) of the children were subsequently hospitalized. In 95 percent of the cases, the checklist was able to correctly predict whether the patient was hospitalized. A shorter checklist of six items was also able to predict the subsequent form of treatment in 95 percent of the cases. Although such checklists cannot take the place of informed clinical decisions, they can serve as a guide to decision making, especially for inexperienced mental health workers, and as a tool for utilization review when treatment decisions are questioned.

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