Introduction: Of the 676 patients warded in 1998 at the National University Hospital (NUH) Department of Psychological Medicine, over a third (n = 268) required certification of absence from work. Duration of inpatient stay and immediate post-discharge medical leave were examined for this group. These durations were correlated against the patients’ diagnoses and their demographic variables. The mental health morbidity of teachers was specifically studied.Materials and Methods: In this retrospective study, we used medical certificate counterfoils to determine the lengths of admission and post-discharge medical leave duration. ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests of the SPSS computer package were used for statistical analysis. Results: The sex and marital status of these patients did not affect either duration significantly. However, those 45 years and older were granted longer outpatient medical leave. Patients diagnosed with mood and psychotic disorders required longer inpatient stay and were granted longer outpatient medical leave, as compared with other diagnostic groups. It was found that the teachers admitted were largely 45 years and older, had a diagnosis of depression and required extended periods of outpatient medical leave compared to other occupational groups. Conclusions: The mean number of days of inpatient stay and outpatient medical leave may serve as a helpful guideline of current practice. As introduced in this paper, the use of medical certificate counterfoils is a simple yet effective way of measuring days off-work. With the inclusion of those psychiatric patients not working and the medical leave granted long after discharge, calculations of the economic costs of specific mental disorders to Singapore can then be attempted.
The Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital (NUH) has a 26-bedded inpatient unit. This study retrospectively examines the medical leave granted to all admitted patients over a one-year period in 1998.
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