The value of in-patient dermatology: a survey of in-patients in Scotland and northern England

Munro, C.S., Lowe, J.G., McLoone, P. , White, M.I. and Hunter, J.A.A. (1999) The value of in-patient dermatology: a survey of in-patients in Scotland and northern England. British Journal of Dermatology, 140(3), pp. 474-479. (doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1999.02712.x) (PMID:10233269)

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Dermatology in‐patient units are frequently threatened with reduction or closure, yet there are few objective data regarding the nature and use of in‐patient management with which to assess their value. We have surveyed 300 patients admitted during March 1997 to dermatology units throughout Scotland and Northern England, to establish their clinical and social profile, and the outcome of admission. All departments provided phototherapy and out‐patient treatment services, and 84% of those admitted lived within an hour's travel of one of these. Three diagnostic groups (psoriasis, eczema and leg ulcers) accounted for 83% of in‐patient days. Patients were admitted principally because of disease severity but many, including half of those with psoriasis, had concurrent medical problems such as alcohol abuse, psychiatric disorder or arthropathy. Many patients with psoriasis and leg ulcers were from socially deprived areas, as defined by low Carstairs index scores, and a similar proportion received income support. Eighteen per cent of patients, mainly those with acute disorders, would have needed admission irrespective of dermatology bed availability. Out‐patient management was considered the next best alternative for only 28% of patients, and many patients would have been expected to treat themselves. By contrast, 84% of patients admitted were cleared or substantially improved, or had procedures completed as planned, and another 12% were partially improved. Outcomes were particularly good in psoriasis, eczema and infection groups. We have demonstrated that in‐patient management is highly effective in providing remission in chronic skin disease, and our survey also suggests that concomitant disability or social factors mean that for many such patients ambulatory care cannot replace this service.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McLoone, Mr Philip
Authors: Munro, C.S., Lowe, J.G., McLoone, P., White, M.I., and Hunter, J.A.A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:British Journal of Dermatology
ISSN (Online):1365-2133

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