Mental health patients sent to far-off treatment facilities less likely to recover

Mental health patients sent to far-off treatment facilities less likely to recover

A high number of mental health patients in England are treated at medical facilities located at a great distance from their homes. And the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has expressed concern over this rising trend, saying that sending these individuals to such far-off facilities decreases their chance of recovery by limiting their contact with their family and friends. This in turn leaves them in isolation and ends their contact with the local services.

The problem continues to grow in England despite the promises of the government to end the practice. Rather than improving their condition, such a practice worsens the problems of mental health patients.

To establish this finding, the CQC analyzed data available for around 3,721 patients in England in 311 wards at 203 different locations. On analyzing the data, the researchers found that approximately two-thirds or 63 percent of the total placements in residential-based mental health rehab facilities were located outside the local health area where the patient usually lives. The expenditure borne to make treatment available to these individuals’ amounts to around £535m, out of which the out of area placements (OAPs) costs around two-thirds of this expenditure.

According to the CQC report, England currently has around 700 OAPs and the National Health Services (NHS) patients who are sent in independent care organizations for care are generally out of area which usually cost more. The average cost to care per day in a residential rehab facility is similar across NHS and independent sector, but independent services generally cost twice as much as NHS services. The average cost comes out to be £162,000 compared to £81,000, the CQC found.

Dislocation can make people become isolated from friends and family

Dr Paul Lelliott, deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health at the CQC, has shared his concern regarding distance between these wards and the patient’s home. He said, “We are concerned about the high number of beds in mental health rehabilitation wards that are situated a long way from the patient’s home. This dislocation can mean that people can become isolated from their friends, from their families and from the services that will provide care once they have been discharged.”

Talking about the importance of having these rehab facilities nearby, Lelliott said it can help in reducing the duration of patient’s stay in hospital. He said, “Also, we are concerned that our evidence shows that on average, people in ‘out of area’ placements can end up staying in residential rehabilitation for twice as long as they would have done in a local NHS bed, which can increase their sense of institutionalisation, affect their onward recovery, and can be very costly.”

Mental health condition in US

The situation regarding treatment for mental conditions in the United States is not a very happy one. Stigma associated with mental problems and lack of adequate treatment facilities often force patients of mental conditions to wait for a long time to get admitted to the rehabs. This increases the risk of exacerbating the problem, leading to various other complications. The problem also forces the patients to seek help in emergency rooms (ER), which leads to lack of space in ERs for other critical patients. As per a report released by the Mental Health America in 2016, 43.7 million people had a mental health condition, of which over half of them did not receive any kind of treatment.

Recovery road map

It is important to understand that mental conditions are treatable through timely treatment. If you or someone you know is dealing with any form of mental illness and looking forward to connect with the best Mental Health Rehab Center, the 247 Mental Health Helpline can assist. Call our 24/7 mental health helpline (855) 653-8178 or chat online with a representative to get credible information about some of the best rehab facilities near you.