BACKGROUND: Changes in the residential and care settings of patients with severe mental illness (SMI) are a concern because of the large variety of possible negative consequences. This study describes patterns of changes in the residential and care settings of SMI patients and explores associations between these changes, sociodemographics, and clinical characteristics.
METHODS: From January 2006 to January 2012, all data relating to changes in residential and/or care setting by SMI patients (N = 262) were collected from electronic case files. Data covering psychopathology, substance use, and medication adherence were assessed in 2006.
RESULTS: There were more changes in the residential than in the care setting. In 6 years, only 22% of our sample did not move, 23% changed residence once, 19% twice, 10% three times, and 26% four or more times. Substance use predicted changes of care and/or residential setting and rehospitalisation. The severity of negative symptoms predicted rehospitalisation and duration of hospitalisation. Disorganisation symptoms predicted the duration of hospitalisation.
CONCLUSIONS: A majority of patients with SMI changed residential and/or care settings several times in 6 years. Patients with substance use or severe negative and disorganisation symptoms may need more intensive and customised treatment. Further research is needed to investigate prevention programmes for highly-frequent movers.