Aim: There have been some studies on the feasibility of discharging mentally ill inpatients from mental hospitals. The purpose of the present study was to investigate how a psychiatrist judges whether an inpatient can be discharged.
Methods: A survey regarding such judgments on discharge was conducted involving 549 inpatients with schizophrenia with a hospital stay of ≥1 year. Relationships between psychiatrist judgments on discharge and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Scales for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), Global Assessment Scale (GAS), patient attitude to discharge, and other variables were investigated. A similar analysis was conducted regarding patient attitudes toward discharge.
Results: After controlling for potential confounding factors using multiple logistic regression, the judgments showed significant relationships with BPRS-P, SANS, GAS, and age. Patient attitudes showed significant relationships with the length of the current hospital stay, SANS, and psychiatrists' judgments.
Conclusion: A psychiatrist's judgment regarding discharge is a comprehensive decision that takes into account psychiatric symptoms, social functioning, and age. Such a judgment could also affect a patient's own attitude toward discharge.