Background: In many developing countries, most patients referred for hospitalization for high suicide risk are deprived of adequate care, mainly because of limited psychiatric facilities.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the short-term outcomes of an outpatient psychiatric crisis intervention (PCI) service enhanced with case management for patients with suicide risk where hospital admission was impossible because of the bed shortage.
Methods: We developed a service model provided by a team of psychiatry residents, psychologists, and social workers supervised by a faculty psychiatrist. We piloted it in Roozbeh Psychiatry Hospital for patients when hospitalization was indicated for suicidality, but admission was not possible due to the bed shortage. This study followed an action research design and methodology. The sample was selected from individuals referred to Roozbeh Hospital. All subjects who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were included in the study. Convenience sampling was used for the satisfaction assessments.
Results: The PCI provided the service to 173 patients. The suicide risk was resolved in 48 (27.7%) patients. The remaining consisted of individuals finally hospitalized when beds were available (73 patients, 42.2%) or dropped out of the service (52 patients, 30.1%). Most patients (86%) were satisfied with the service. Only one non-lethal suicide attempt was reported in the two-month follow-up.
Conclusions: An outpatient crisis service for suicidality enhanced with case management may reduce the need for hospitalization. However, randomized controlled studies are needed to establish its effectiveness.