Clinical and functional outcomes in day hospitals in times of COVID-19
Mental health services have been clearly affected by the pandemic and its restrictions. In our two day hospital units in northeastern Spain, users attended on fewer days, group therapy was drastically reduced, the number of users in groups was limited and individual and group teletherapy was initiated. This study evaluates the impact of these changes on clinical and functional outcomes. This is the dataset from a descriptive study prospectively comparing two cohorts of users: those admitted and discharged from our day hospitals before or during the pandemic. All users received a multidisciplinary assessment at admission and discharge including clinician and user-rated scales on psychopathology (BDI2, PANSS, GAS, MINI suicidality scale), daily living skills (BELS), quality of life (SF-36) and caregiver burdens (Zarit scale). Improvement in both groups was compared. Both cohorts were homogenous at admission. Length of admission was not different for the two groups, but users admitted during the pandemic attended the day hospital on significantly fewer days. Improvement observed in most scales was equivalent in both groups, suggesting a similar evolution of both cohorts. Despite the reduction in assistance days and group therapeutic interventions no major changes were found in the outcomes of both groups. This study shows that careful adaptations and availability, even in critical situations, can result in equally effective treatments. Further research is essential to determine which of these adaptations should be maintained beyond the pandemic.