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Article   |    
Characteristics of Emergency Room Patients That Predict Hospitalization or Disposition to Alternative Treatments
Nancy Butler Slagg
Psychiatric Services 1993; doi:
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This study was supported in part by National Institute of Mental Health grant MH 37248. The author thanks Edward P. Sheridan, Ph.D., Hy Pomp, Ph.D., Deborah Zuskar, Ph.D., and Lawrence Appleby, Ph.D., for helpful suggestions and assistance.

Northwestern University Medical School, 520 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1616, Chicago, Illinois 60611

1993 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Objective: The purpose of the study was to identify variables that predicted three different dispositions of patients seen in a psychiatric emergency room: hospitalization, an emergency housing program, and an outpatient crisis program. Methods: Social, psychiatric, demographic, and vocational characteristics of 50 patients in each dispostion group were examined to learn whether they varied sufficiently to explain the different dispositions. Results: Patients in the hospitalized group were most psychologically impaired and those in the crisis program group least impaired. Patients referred to emergency housing were more moderately impaired but not always significantly different in impairment from hospitalized patients. Discriminant analysis yielded a model of 11 variables whose combined effect accounted for 79 percent of the variance. Psychiatric determinants were the most important predictors, although social, vocational, and demographic variables were also significant. Using these predictors, 76 percent of the original sample and 63 percent of a cross-validation sample were correctly classified by disposition group. Conclusions: The results confirmed the importance of psychiatric determinants in the dispositional process. The similarity between hospitalized patients and those assigned to emergency housing suggests that some hospitalized patients would be good candidates for alternative treatment

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