Secondary conditions can become deadly and affect how long HIV patients stay in hospital

Published on December 17, 2013 at 12:08 AM · No Comments

But findings were strikingly different for HIV patients with mental disorders. In contrast to the HIV patient population in general, HIV patients with mental disorders experienced a 19-percent decrease in length of stay and a 15-percent decrease in total charges, the researchers found. Zhang said this might be attributed to patients being transferred to other care facilities, which could distort actual lengths of stay and charges and might indicate that general hospitals do not have the resources to fully treat HIV patients with mental disorders.

To characterize the role of individual mental disorders, the researchers identified eight conditions found to be most strongly associated with HIV: non-dependent drug abuse; drug dependence; depressive disorder; episodic mood disorder; mental disorders due to other conditions; anxiety and dissociative disorders; alcohol dependence; and schizophrenia. The most important conditions were drug-related mental disorders, mood disorders, depression and anxiety, Zhang said.

"This finding suggests that policymakers must focus on these conditions regarding HIV," she said. "Clinicians should implement an integrated health services delivery approach to better address the severity of these chronic, co-morbid conditions associated with HIV."

"Characterizing the Impact of Mental Disorders on HIV Patient Length of Stay and Total Charges" was published in Industrial Engineering News, a magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Zhang's co-authors from North Carolina State University were Fay Cobb, professor of information systems, and Julie Simmons, professor of industrial and systems engineering.

Source: North Carolina State University

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