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עמוד בית
Mon, 06.02.23

Prespective

IMAJ | volume 17

Journal 9, September 2015
pages: 533-537

Assessing the Need for Hospitalization in Order to Conduct a Psychiatric Evaluation as part of Criminal Law Procedure

    Summary

    Background:

    In criminal law, psychiatrists are consulted regarding the "insanity defense" and the defendant's competency to stand trial. Court-ordered hospital admissions for such evaluations are on the increase, creating a major burden on the health system.

    Objectives:

    To assess, in a hospital setting, whether hospitalization of the defendant is necessary for conducting a psychiatric evaluation.

    Methods:

    A 6 month prospective observational study exploring the phenomenon was conducted at the Beer Yaakov Mental Health Center. The psychiatrist was asked both at the initiation and again at the end of the assessment process whether the subject was competent to stand trial and responsible for his/her actions and if hospitalization was necessary in order to conduct the evaluation. 

    Results:

    During the study period there were 112 admissions with a court request for a psychiatric evaluation. In 73 of the cases (65.2%) the evaluating psychiatrist believed there was no need for hospitalization. This assessment did not change by the end of the hospitalization in all cases. Employment and alcohol use were the only factors associated with a lower need for hospitalization (OR 0.24, 95%CI 0.07–0.77, and 0.34, 95%CI 0.13–0.90, respectively).

    Conclusions:

    In the majority of cases, based on the evaluating psychiatrist's responses, the evaluation could have been conducted without need for hospitalization. The findings indicate that an outpatient unit designated to write court-requested psychiatric evaluations could significantly reduce the rates of hospital admissions for this purpose.

     

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