Inpatient hospitalization for substance use disorders one year after residential rehabilitation: predictors among US veterans.

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BACKGROUND: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is among the principal providers of the full range of substance use disorders (SUD) treatment in the US. Relatively little, however, is known about patient outcomes after residential rehabilitation.

OBJECTIVE: To identify predictors of SUD inpatient hospitalization (primarily medically managed detoxification) in the year after SUD residential rehabilitation among US veterans.

METHODS: Medical records of 64 veterans admitted to one of two residential rehabilitation programs in the Northeast during the first quarter of FY 2012 were abstracted. Data included demographic, clinical, and treatment (inpatient and outpatient) information for the year before and after residential rehabilitation. Annual rates of treatment utilization were compared.

RESULTS: The veterans (mean age, 48.2 years) used substances for a mean of 27.6 years. Alcohol was the primary drug of choice (69%). More than half had SUD inpatient hospitalizations in the year before (79%) and after (53%) residential rehabilitation; SUD inpatient admission occurred an average of 64 days after discharge. According to the multivariate Cox regression model, the estimated risk of SUD inpatient hospitalization increased by 25% for each past year SUD inpatient hospitalization, decreased by 74% if there was no opiate use disorder diagnosis, and decreased by 2% for each day increase in residential rehabilitation length of stay when extent of service connected disability, marital status, and days since last SUD inpatient admission are taken into account.

CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors for SUD inpatient hospitalization after residential rehabilitation have been identified and, if confirmed, may represent opportunities for targeted program change.

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Department of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry Faculty

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