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Patient Safety in Medical and Surgical Hospitalizations for Persons With Serious Mental Illness

With support from the National Institute of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins ALACRITY Center researchers conducted the first in-depth study examining patient safety during general medical hospital stays among people with serious mental illness.

Center researchers reviewed the medical records for 790 medical or surgical hospitalizations among Maryland adults with serious mental illness during 1994-2004. Patient safety events were common, with a rate of 142 physical harms resulting from patient safety events per 100 hospitalizations. In addition, ALACRITY Center researchers found that having a patient safety event was associated with increased likelihood of death within 30 days. People with serious mental illness with more complicated health issues were more likely to experience adverse patient safety events.  Providers’ failure to seek consultation with mental health specialists, lack of patient monitoring, lack of trainee supervision, and delays in care were common provider-level issues that contributed to patient safety events among people with serious mental illness.  Study results suggest that interventions to improve patient safety for people with serious mental illness during medical and surgical hospitalizations are needed. (R01MH074070, K24MH093763)