This demonstration project examined whether medication management coordinators enhanced continuity of care from inpatient facilities to an outpatient public mental health clinic.
From 2004 to 2008, patients (N=325) hospitalized with schizophrenia or schizoaffective or bipolar disorder enrolled in a medication management program before discharge or at their first clinic appointment. Medication management coordinators supplemented existing clinic practices by identifying recently hospitalized patients, providing inpatient and outpatient prescribing clinicians with patients' complete medication history, meeting with patients for six months postdischarge to assess clinical status and provide medication education, and advocating guideline-concordant prescribing. Recently discharged patients (N=345) assigned to a different outpatient clinic within the same agency served as the comparison group. Intent-to-treat, repeated-measures analyses for mixed models compared the groups' number of hospital admissions, hospital days, and medication appointments kept and use of nurse or case manager contact hours and emergency or crisis services during the 12 months before enrollment, the six-month intervention, and the six-month follow-up period.
After discharge, individuals enrolled in medication management were more likely than comparison patients to attend outpatient appointments, and they had more medication visits and nurse or case manager treatment hours than the comparison group. Use of hospital and crisis or emergency services by all patients decreased. Almost one-third of patients never attended an outpatient appointment after hospital discharge.
Although this program succeeded in improving continuity of care, additional interventions may be required to reduce rehospitalization and crisis care. (Psychiatric Services 63:554–560, 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201100264)