Assessing the outcome of compulsory psychiatric treatment in the community: epidemiological study in Western Australia, BMJ Volume 324, pp 1244-6
Researchers matched 228 psychiatric patients placed on a community treatment order with an equal number of control patients not placed on an order, to predict subsequent use of health services.
One year later, hospital admissions and bed days decreased for all patients. Outpatient contacts increased for patients on a community treatment order compared with the control group. Otherwise, orders did not affect subsequent use of health services.
This study shows that legislative solutions such as community treatment orders may not always offer a solution to the need to provide appropriate services for psychiatric patients within limited resources, say the authors.
It is important to examine what role such orders have in providing effective mental health treatment and whether therapeutic gains could be better delivered by enhancing the quality and assertiveness of community treatment for high risk patients, they conclude.