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    People with mental illness may require admission to hospital. In hospital, patients can receive specialised psychiatric care in a psychiatric hospital or in a psychiatric unit within a hospital. Patients with mental illness may also be admitted to other areas where health care workers may not be specifically trained to care for the mentally ill. Under these circumstances, the admissions to hospitals are classified as without specialised psychiatric care.

    This section presents information on these admitted patient mental health-related separations in Australia. Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD); a collation of data on admitted patient care in Australian hospitals defined by the Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set (APCNMDS). The information describes separations. It is possible for individuals to have multiple separations in any given reference period. For further information see the data source section.

    NMD data for the Australian Capital Territory were not available for the 2014–15 reporting period. See the footnotes in each of the tables for details about the calculation of national rates.


    Key points

    • There were more than 254,800 mental health-related separations in public and private hospitals in 2014–15, of which more than 3 in 5 (61.7%) were with specialised psychiatric care.
    • Involuntary admissions accounted for almost a third (31.1%) of mental health-related separations with specialised psychiatric care.
    • The largest number and highest rate of mental health-related separations with specialised psychiatric care were for patients aged 35–44 (34,030 or 10.7 per 1,000 population).
    • Depressive episode and Schizophrenia were the most commonly reported principal diagnoses for separations with specialised psychiatric care (17.4% and 13.5% respectively).
    • Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol and Other organic mental disorders were the most commonly reported principal diagnoses for separations without specialised psychiatric care (18.4% and 12.9% respectively).
    • Indigenous Australians had a mental health-related separation rate without specialised psychiatric care that was more than 3 times that of other Australians (12.0 and 3.8 per 1,000 population respectively). A similar pattern can be seen in the rate of mental health-related separation with specialised care, at double the rate seen for other Australians (12.8 and 6.5 per 1,000 population respectively).
    • Generalised allied health interventions was the most commonly reported procedure block for both separations with and without specialised psychiatric care (41.3% and 39.6% respectively).
    • National seclusion rates have fallen from 10.6 events per 1,000 bed days in 2011–12 to 8.1 in 2015–16.
    • The average duration per seclusion event was 5.3 hours in 2015–16.
    • Nationally, there were 9.2 physical restraint events per 1,000 bed days and 1.7 mechanical restraint events per 1,000 bed days in 2015–16.

    Data in most of this section were last updated in October 2016. Seclusion data were last updated in February 2017 and restraint data was added in May 2017.


    A total of 10.2 million separations from public acute, public psychiatric and private hospitals were reported in 2014–15 (AIHW 2016). There were 254,808 mental health-related separations in 2014–15, accounting for 1 in 40 (2.5%) of all hospital separations. Of these, 157,104 (61.7%) involved specialised psychiatric care and 97,704 (38.3%) did not involve specialised psychiatric care. The majority of mental health-related separations occurred in public acute hospitals (74.0%), followed by private hospitals (22.2%) and public psychiatric hospitals (3.8%) (Table AD.1).


    Reference

    AIHW 2016. Admitted patient care 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics. Health services series no. 68. Cat. no. HSE 172. Canberra: AIHW.


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