Involuntary admission and residence

According to the law 2071/92, involuntary admission of patients with mental illness should be accomplished in a psychiatric clinic of the Mental Health Section of their residence, unless special conditions impose a hospitalization elsewhere. This possibility remains inactive, so long as the Sections even designed, haven't been applied until now. This peculiarity of the mental health system in Greece induces the involuntary admission of patients in clinics far away from their homes. In the present study the problems regarding residence of involuntarily admitted patients in the A' Psychiatric Clinic of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, were studied.
Eighty-two patients, involuntarity admitted during 1999, were categorized in two groups: those who live in the prefecture of Thessaloniki (44 or 54%), and those living out of it (38 or 46%). The two groups were compared regarding to procedure of admission (two medical recommendations or order for assessment), the duration of hospitalization, and the visiting of relatives or friends, and/or the use by doctors of the therapeutical mean of leave of absence. In the first group patients admitted for assessment were significantly more (p <0.001) whereas in the second group juridical orders based on two experts advises were significantly increased (p <0.001). As expected, the rate of patients living in Thessaloniki who were visited by relatives or friends and/or who have taken at least one permission for absence was significantly greater than that of patients living elsewhere (p <0.001). No essential difference in hospitalization duration was found between the two groups.
The information that derives from the relatives of a psychiatric patient is very important for the diagnosis and the treatment planning, as well as for the intervention in the patien's family. As a result it is obvious the need for the development of policies for hospitalization of the involuntary admitted patient as closer as possible to their residence.

A' Psychiatric Clinic of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.