UK Study Backs Mental Assessment for More Kids' Hospitalizations

A new study has found that adolescents discharged from hospitals in England after an admission for violent, drug- or alcohol-related or self-inflicted injuries — known as adversity-related injuries — have increased risks of subsequent death and emergency readmission up to a decade later.

The study, published in PLOS Medicine, showed that in England, risks of death after all types of adversity-related injury were 61 percent higher in girls and 113 percent higher in boys.

Conducted by Annie Herbert, a doctoral student at University College London in the U.K., and her colleagues, the study found that adolescents who come to the hospital with an adversity-related injury often return later with other adversity-related injuries.

However, national guidance in England calls for psychosocial assessment only for presentations of self-inflicted injury.

To determine which adolescents are at elevated risk of further harm, Herbert and her colleagues used National Health Service hospital admissions data from 1997 into 2012 for 10-19 year olds with emergency admissions for adversity-related (333,009 adolescents) or accident-related injury (649,818 adolescents).

Among adolescents discharged after adversity-related injury, one in 137 girls and one in 64 boys died within 10 years, while 54.2 percent of girls and 40.5 percent of boys had a subsequent emergency readmission, the analysis discovered.

These rates were roughly one and a half to two times higher than after accident-related injury, according to the researchers.

Risks of death were highest in 18-19 year olds (one in 52 boys and one in 90 girls), and those with either chronic conditions (typically mental/behavioral or respiratory disorders for adolescents in this study) or who lived in deprived areas.

The findings identify a broader range of risk factors for subsequent harm, according to the researchers.

“These findings justify extending national policy for psychosocial assessment after self-inflicted injury to all types of adversity-related injury,” they conclude.

Source: PLOS
Critical patient photo by shutterstock.