The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on community-oriented mental health services: The experience of Friuli Venezia Giulia region, Italy

Giulio Castelpietra, Chiara Colli, Davide Tossut, Morena Furlan, Matteo Balestrieri, Fabrizio Starace, Massimiliano Beghi, Fabio Barbone, Alfredo Perulli, Luis Salvador-Carulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: to assess the changes in prevalence, incidence and hospitalisation rates during the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period of 2019, in Friuli Venezia Giulia Mental Health Departments (MHDs); to analyse the features of MHDs patients tested for Sars-Cov-2, and to monitor whether MHDs applied and adhered to regional recommendations. Methods: Observational study using MHDs’ administrative data and individual data on suspected and positive cases of Sars-Cov-2. Adherence to recommentations was assessed using 21 indicators. Changes in rates were calculated by Poisson regression analysis, while the Fisher exact test was used for assessing differences between suspected and positive cases. Results: The decrease in voluntary admission rates on 100,000 inhabitants in hospital services was significantly larger from January to April 2020, compared to the same period of 2019 (P<0.001), while no other data showed a significant decrease. Among the 82 cases tested for Sars-Cov-2, five were positive, and they significantly differ from suspected cases only in that they were at home or in supported housing facilities prior to the test. The MHDs mostly complied with the indicators in the month after the publication of recommendations. Conclusions: Outpatient services continued to work normally during the emergency, while hospital services decreased their activities. A low number of positive cases was found among MHDs’ users, which might be linked to a rapid reconversion of services, with an extensive use of home visits and telepsychiatry. These preliminary data should be interpreted with caution, due to the small size and the limited period of observation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy And Technology
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

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