Reducing readmissions

A programme at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is significantly reducing the rate of hospital readmissions for people with bipolar disorder.

SLaM bipolar readmissionsA new specialist programme at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has been shown to significantly reduce the rate of hospital readmissions for people with bipolar disorder, in an early-stage audit funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and published in BJPsych Bulletin this week.

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which an individual experiences recurrent episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression. One in 50 adults will be diagnosed with the condition.

An initial three-year audit of admissions at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust showed that there were approximately 500 hospital admissions of people with bipolar disorder each year. Two-thirds of these were re-admissions in that three-year period, and approximately 150 people were admitted more than once a year.

The OPTIMA Mood Disorders Service was established in as an intensive, specialist programme for people who have recently had frequent hospital admissions for manic or depressive episodes. The core programme is designed to consolidate recovery.

The average rate of hospital readmission post-OPTIMA was substantially lower than the average rate over the three years pre-OPTIMA, providing initial evidence that the treatments are successful.

Dr Karine Macritchie, Lead Consultant Psychiatrist at OPTIMA said:

The period immediately following hospital admission for bipolar depression or mania is often a very vulnerable time for people struggling with this illness.  Our early results show that this period offers a valuable opportunity to optimise on-going treatment and to prevent loss of recovery, episode recurrence and re-admission.
People with bipolar disorder can be given appropriate treatment, frequent support and a greater sense of agency over their condition at the time when they need these things the most.  OPTIMA shows the very positive results that can be achieved when a flexible, responsive service is offered in a timely and targeted way.

The NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is a partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the UK’s largest mental health trust, and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, Europe’s leading academic centre for mental health research.

Read more on the Maudsley BRC website.

The King’s Health Partners Psychological Medicine and Integrated Care Clinical Academic Group delivers world class specialist services in mood disorders, eating disorders, mother and baby, psychosexual, neuropsychiatry, memory disorders and HIV in the context of mental health.