Race, History of Abuse, and Homelessness Are Associated With Forced Medication Administration During Psychiatric Inpatient Care.

Although previous research has suggested that racial disparities exist in the administration of forced medication (FM) in psychiatric inpatients, data remain scarce regarding other contributing variables. Therefore, this study examined sociodemographic and clinical variables associated with FM administration in psychiatric inpatients.Electronic medical records from 57,615 patients admitted to an academic psychiatric hospital between 2010 and 2018 were reviewed to identify patients who received FM. These records indicated that FM petitions were requested and approved for ∼6200 patients. Patients were excluded from the analysis if they met the following exclusion criteria: under 18 years of age, presence of intellectual/developmental disability, dementia, or other neurological condition, or primary diagnosis of a nonpsychiatric medical condition or a substance-induced mood or psychotic disorder. After data on those patients were excluded, the final sample included records from 2569 patients (4.5% of the total records) in which the administration of FM was petitioned for and approved. The FM group was compared with a control group of 2569 patients matched in terms of age, sex, and admission date (no-forced medication group; NFM) via propensity scoring matching. Group comparisons (FM vs. NFM group) examined sociodemographic factors (race, age, sex, living situation), clinical features (diagnosis, substance abuse, history of abuse), and outcomes (length of stay, readmission rate). Regression analyses examined the association between FM and sociodemographic, clinical, and outcome variables.Compared with the NFM group, the FM group contained significantly more African Americans (P<0.001), homeless individuals (P<0.001), and individuals with histories of abuse (P<0.001). Having received FM was a significant predictor of a longer length of stay (P<0.001) and higher readmission rates (P<0.001).These results suggest that FM is more likely to be instituted in psychiatric inpatients who are of a minority race (African American), are in a homeless living situation, and/or have a history of abuse. Moreover, FM may be associated with poorer clinical outcomes at least as measured by the length of stay and higher readmission rates. We discuss possible reasons for these results and the importance of culturally competent and trauma-focused care.

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