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Review: Short stay hospitalisation does not increase readmissions compared with long stay

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How effective is planned short stay hospitalisation compared with long stay (standard) hospitalisation for people with severe mental illness?


Death, service outcomes (including hospital readmission), global and mental function.



Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Data sources:

The Cochrane Schizophrenia group trial register was searched in July 2007. In addition, reference lists of relevant papers were hand searched, papers citing included studies were identified using SciSearch, and authors of the main studies were contacted to identify unpublished research.

Study selection and analysis:

RCTs comparing planned short-term versus long-term/standard hospitalisation for people with schizophrenia, related disorders or any “severe/chronic mental disorders/illnesses” were included. RCTs randomising all acute psychiatric admissions were not included in the meta-analyses. Studies where more than 50% of participants were lost to follow-up were excluded from analyses. In intention-to-treat analyses people leaving studies early were assumed to have had a negative outcome, except for in the mortality analyses. Two reviewers appraised search results, judged study quality and extracted data. Statistical heterogeneity was assessed visually, and using chi squared …

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  • Source of funding: Berkshire Health Authority UK, Pathfinder Mental Health Services NHS Trust UK, Anglia and Oxford Regional Health Authority UK.

  • Additional notes are published online only at


  • Competing interests: None.