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Community Treatment Orders and Readmissions

Re-admission to inpatient psychiatric care is now so frequent as to be designated the 'revolving door' phenomenon constituting 72% of Irish admissions. There is evidence to indicate that non-compliance with aftercare may contribute to readmission. Attempts to improve treatment compliance and reduce or shorten readmission through compulsory community treatment orders, following discharge from inpatient care, have been made in several countries. 

This paper aims to determine whether compulsory community treatment orders are effective in improving compliance and reducing re-admission and to consider whether provision for them should be included in Irish mental health legislation. The paper will review the history of on trial and absence on leave arrangements in Ireland and of the legislative background to community treatment orders. The effectiveness of such legislative measures in improving treatment compliance and thereby reducing readmission is examined from evaluative literature.