BACKGROUND: In a patient-controlled admission (PCA) programme, the decision about hospital admission is made solely by the patient, with no gatekeeper function allocated to the mental health professionals (MHPs). Current knowledge about how MHPs experience and evaluate PCA is sparse.
AIMS: This Danish multi-centre study examined the MHP assessment of the PCA programme in daily clinical practice, and compared PCA evaluations made by MHPs and patients.
METHODS: A questionnaire was developed and a survey conducted over the course of a year at all Danish mental health units included in the PCA programme. MHPs made an overall evaluation of the PCA programme. At each unique PCA, both patient and MHP evaluated the specific admission when the patient entered the unit and at discharge.
RESULTS: In total, 546 questionnaires were included in the survey, based on 252 unique MHPs. The MHPs rated the PCA programme positively. The MHPs believed that PCA helped patients receive early help and avoid long admissions. Overall, agreement was poor when comparing patients' and MHPs' evaluation of the same PCA.
CONCLUSION: MHPs (and patients) seem to be in favour of implementing the PCA programme. However, results revealed that MHPs and patients have different views of what caused the patient to admit themselves and why patients were discharged.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: MHPs should be aware that patients might have other reasons for admitting and discharging themselves than what seems most obvious to the MHP.