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Original Research

The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale as an Acute Inpatient Outcome Measurement Tool: A Pilot Study

Roy V. Varner, Y. Richard Chen, Alan C. Swann, and Frederick G. Moeller

Published: November 30, 2000

Article Abstract

Background: Recent guidelines for length of stayat psychiatric hospitals may have an unacceptable impact onpatient outcome at discharge. A valid measurement tool is neededto evaluate significant patient change during briefhospitalization, typically 7 days, and to provide earlyprediction of unfavorable short-term outcome. This study examinesthe utility of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) as sucha tool.

Method: During a 2-month testing period, theBPRS was administered to 87 successive adults admitted to anacute general psychiatric inpatient unit at admission, 2 days, 7days, and weekly thereafter until discharge. Total BPRS scoresand 4 subscores were used in the data analysis, which includedpaired t tests and correlation analyses.

Results: Mean BPRS total scores demonstratesignificant (p < .001) patient improvement at days 2, 7, and14 of the hospital stay. Changes in subscores and theirrelationship to eventual outcome vary across diagnostic groups.

Conclusion: The BPRS appears to be a usefulinpatient outcome measure since it is capable of demonstratingsignificant change during brief stays of 1 week or less. Subscalescores may provide more specific prediction of change and mayhelp clarify outcome in individual patients who showinsignificant change by total score.

Volume: 61

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