HRB publishes 2022 data on admissions to psychiatric in-patient facilities
The latest figures from the Health Research Board’s (HRB) National Psychiatric Inpatient Reporting System (NPIRS) show a continuation of trends seen in recent years, with depressive disorders and schizophrenia the most common diagnoses for adults, while eating disorders remain a key feature of admissions for children and adolescents.
According to the report, there were 16,136 admissions to Irish psychiatric units and hospitals in 2022.* This includes 15,790 admissions to adult units and hospitals, and 346 to child and adolescent units. There was a slight increase in the rate of admissions to adult units and hospitals from 330 in 2021 to 332 in 2022. Admissions appear to be returning to pre-pandemic levels with small increases noted over the last two years, following a slight dip over the period of COVID-related public health restrictions.
Similar to previous years, depressive disorders accounted for the highest proportion of all adult admissions, followed by schizophrenia. For children and adolescents, depressive disorders and eating disorders were the first and second most common diagnoses respectively. While similar proportions of adult admissions were female and male, three in four of all child and adolescent admissions were female, continuing a trend seen over recent years.
Commenting on the findings, HRB Chief Executive Mairéad O’Driscoll said: “The data collected and analysed in this report will help policymakers and practitioners to better understand the characteristics of people receiving psychiatric in-patient care, which can inform future planning to deliver the right resources to those who need them.”
Summary of all key findings in 2022
Admissions to adult units and hospitals
- Overall, there were 15,790 admissions to Irish psychiatric units and hospitals in 2022, with the rate of admissions per 100,000 total population rising slightly from 330 per 100,000 in 2021 to 332 in 2022.
- Admissions who were new to treatment decreased by 346, from 5,758 in 2021 to 5,412 in 2022.
- Re-admissions accounted for 66% of all admissions, increasing from 9,965 in 2021 to 10,378 in 2022.
- There was a similar proportion of male and female admissions.
- The 20-24 years age group had the highest rate of all admissions, at 542 per 100,000.
- A total of 291 admissions reported having no fixed abode in 2022, an increase from 284 in 2021.
- The rate of involuntary admissions has decreased slightly from a rate of 56.7 per 100,000 in 2021, to 55.7 in 2022.
- There were 15,593 discharges and 95 deaths in adult psychiatric units and hospitals in 2022.
- The average length of stay for all discharges in 2022 was 57.3 days (median 14 days) up marginally on 2021 figures.
Antoinette Daly, Research Officer at the HRB and co-author of the report, says: “We are seeing that adult admissions are most likely to be single, unemployed and diagnosed with a depressive disorder, with schizophrenia and neuroses being the second and third most common diagnoses respectively.”
Child and adolescent admissions
- There were 366 admissions for under 18s in 2022, down from 509 in 2021.**
- There were 20 admissions for under 18s to adult units and hospitals in 2022, down from 29 in 2021.
- There were 346 admissions to child and adolescent units, down from 480 in 2021.
- 7 in 10 admissions for under 18s were female.
- Almost 2 in 5 of all admissions were aged 17 years on admission; 1 in 4 were aged 16 years; 16% were aged 15 years; 15% were aged 14 years, and 6% were aged 13 years and under on admission.
- The most common diagnosis for admissions under 18 was a depressive disorder (down from 30% in 2021 to 23% in 2022). This is followed by eating disorders (22%, similar to 2021), schizophrenia (10%) and neuroses (16%).
- Females accounted for 98% of all admissions for eating disorders.
- The number of admissions for eating disorders has more than doubled in the last 5 years, from 33 in 2018 to 80 in 2022.
Census as of 31 December 2022
The HRB conducts a census of patients resident in Irish psychiatric units and hospitals on 31 December each year. Key figures from the 2022 census include:
- There were 1,913 patients resident in psychiatric units and hospitals on 31 December 2022.
- Almost 2 in 5 (36%) were long-stay patients, being resident in hospital for at least one year.
- Almost half (48%) of all long-stay patients were aged 65 and over.
Commenting on trends observed in the census findings over time, Antoinette Daly says: “Overall, the latest data from the HRB shows a 20% reduction in the number of people resident in psychiatric units and hospitals over the 10-year period from 2013 to 2022, which is in line with the government policy to move away from in-patient-based care to more community-based care for mental health services.”
* It should be noted that admissions and discharges represent an episode of treatment rather than a person admitted, i.e. the same person could be admitted more than one time and the admissions are recorded separately. Admissions do not necessarily represent incidence of mental illness but rather the activity of in-patient services.
** Of note is the closure of a number of child and adolescent beds mid-2022, which may be linked to the decrease in the number of admissions:
For further information or to organise interviews with experts, please contact:
Anna Dunne, Communications Officer, Health Research Board
m +353 85 859 0339 e firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE TO EDITORS
The report is compiled from data supplied by the 67 approved psychiatric units and hospitals on the Register of Approved Centres under the Mental Health Act 2001.
The Health Research Board (HRB) is Ireland’s lead funding agency supporting innovative health research and delivering data and evidence that improves people’s health and patient care. We are committed to putting people first, and ensuring data and evidence are used in policy and practice to overcome health challenges, advance health systems, and benefit society and economy.