It is often assumed that people who are thinking about killing themselves need to be treated in an overnight hospital. However, sometimes service users who would otherwise be treated in an inpatient ward are offered treatment in an acute psychiatric day hospital of which there are 73 in England. There have been a number of different studies into the effectiveness of psychiatric day hospitals which suggest that they are as effective as inpatient care. A study of 206 suicidal service users by researchers at the University of London compared those using a day hospital with those using conventional inpatient treatment. The study found that patients with a high level of suicidal ideation showed greater symptom reduction during a day hospital treatment although this effect did not persist 3 or 12 months after discharge. There was no significant difference in terms of days spent in readmissions after discharge and only two suicides occured during the study period; one from each treatment group.
Jones, Gemma ... [et al] - Treating suicidal patients in an acute psychiatric day hospital: a challenge to assumptions about risk and overnight care Journal of Mental Health August 2008, 17(4), 375-387