The utilization of psychiatric services in cancer inpatients
Objectives: This study attempts to examine the utilization and factors affecting the utilization of psychiatric services of cancer inpatients in Taiwan. Methods: The study was conducted by analyzing the utilization and factors affecting the utilization of the cancer inpatients in a cancer center in Taiwan in 2001. Results were then compared with the utilization rate of the psychiatric care of all cancer inpatients throughout Taiwan in 1999. Results: Age, length of hospital stay and the number of psychiatric diagnosis were the factors that affect the utilization of psychiatric care. Of the psychiatric diagnosis of these patients, adjustment disorders were by far the most common. The utilization of psychiatric services for cancer inpatients was generally very low in Taiwan. It was 4.1% in the cancer center and between 0% and 2.2% in general hospitals in Taiwan. Among cancer inpatients with different cancer sites, the utilization rate of the psychiatric care was higher in patients with central nervous system cancer. Conclusion: The low utilization rate of psychiatric services by cancer inpatients in Taiwan calls for an in-depth review of the necessity of psychiatric support in oncology patients. Furthermore, the appropriate utilization rate of psychiatric care for cancer patients should also be considered as an important issue in future restructuring of the reimbursement programs by the national health insurance.