Psychological distress among medically complex veterans with a recent emergency department visit.
Medical complexity and psychological distress are associated with frequent emergency department (ED) use. Despite this known association, our understanding is limited about which patients are at risk for persistent psychological distress and what patterns of distress emerge over time. A secondary data analysis was used to examine self-reported psychological distress (defined as ≥14 unhealthy days due to poor mental health in the past month) at 30 and 180 days following enrollment in a randomized control trial of 513 medically complex Veterans after a nonpsychiatric ED visit. We used a multivariable ordered logistic regression model to examine the association of a priori factors [baseline psychological distress, age, race, income, health literacy, deficits in activities of daily living (ADL), and deficits in instrumental activities of daily living] with three psychological distress classifications (no/low, intermittent, and persistent). Among 513 Veterans, 40% reported at baseline that they had experienced high psychological distress in the previous month. Older age was associated with lower odds of high psychological distress (OR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.94-0.97). Baseline factors associated with significantly higher odds of persistent psychological distress at 30 and 180 days assessments, included having the inadequate income (OR = 1.61; 95% CI: 1.02-2.55), having low health literacy (OR = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.01-2.62), and reporting at least one ADL deficit (OR = 1.94; 95% CI: 1.13-3.33). Psychological distress at follow-up was common among medically complex Veterans with a recent ED visit. Future research should explore interventions that integrate distress information into treatment plans and/or link to mental health referral services. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Ramos, K; Shepherd-Banigan, ME; Stechuchak, KM; Coffman, C; Oddone, EZ; Van Houtven, C; Hendrix, CC; Mahanna, EP; Hastings, SN
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