PURPOSE: Psychiatric emergency hospital admissions for distinct psychiatric disorders and length of inpatient stay in the hospital during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak have not been thoroughly assessed .
METHODS: A retrospective study was performed analyzing claims data from a large German Hospital network during the COVID-19 outbreak (study period: March 13-May 21 , 2020) as compared to periods directly before the outbreak (same year control: January 1-March 12 , 2020) and one year earlier (previous year control: March 13-May 21 , 2019).
RESULTS: A total of 13,151 emergency hospital admissions for psychiatric diagnoses were included in the analysis . For all psychiatric diagnoses combined, emergency admissions significantly decreased during the study period with mean (interquartile range) incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of 0.68 (0.65 , 0.71) and 0.70 (0.67 , 0.73) as compared to the same and previous year controls, respectively (both p <0.00001). IRR ranged from 0.56 for mood affective disorders (F30-F39) to 0.75 for mental disorders due to psychoactive substance use (F10-F19; all p <0.00001). Mean (standard deviation) length of hospital stay for all psychiatric diagnoses was significantly shorter during the study period [9.8 (11.6) days] as compared to same [14.7 (18.7) days] and previous [16.4 (23.9) days] year controls (both p <0.00001).
CONCLUSION: Both emergency hospital admissions and length of hospital stay significantly decreased for psychiatric disorders during the COVID-19 outbreak . It needs to be assessed in further studies whether healthcare systems will face increased demand for the provision of mental health care in the nearer future.