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Absconding from acute inpatient care: A five-year retrospective analysis (Poster)
journal contributionposted on 11.02.2020, 00:00 by Adam Gerace, C Oster, K Mosel, D O'Kane, D Ash, E Muir-Cochrane
Patients absconding while under psychiatric inpatient hospitalization experience disruption to their treatment and may come to harm. In spite of the importance of this topic, there have been no Australian interventions reported, and the published data is several years old with methodological weaknesses. This study was a five-year retrospective analysis of absconding incidents by involuntary hospitalized patients in three acute care wards from 2006–2010. The aims of the study were to determine absconding rates, compare those who did and did not abscond, and to examine absconding incidents. The data revealed that 12.09% of patients absconded, with little change in rates over time. There were some ward differences in absconding rates. Being male, young, diagnosed with schizophrenia or substance use disorder, and having a longer length of hospital stay were predictive of absconding. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients had higher odds of absconding than Caucasian Australians. Over 25% of patients repeatedly absconded. Patients absconded early in admission, with 25% leaving within three days of being on the ward from which they absconded. More absconding incidents occurred earlier in the year, during summer and autumn, later in the week, and few incidents occurred early in the morning. Almost 60% of incidents lasted 24 hours or less. Drawing on these results and our team’s work in the area, including nurses’ approaches to assessment and management, we will discuss the formulation of interventions to prevent absconding and guide least restrictive health care.