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Timko C, Harris AHS, Jannausch M, Ilgen M. Randomized controlled trial of telephone monitoring with psychiatry inpatients with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2019 Jan 1; 194:230-237.
Background Psychiatry inpatients frequently have co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, which are related to poor post-discharge outcomes. Telephone monitoring is effective in specialty substance use disorder treatment settings in increasing continuing care and 12-step program utilization and improving substance use outcomes. This study examined the effectiveness of telephone monitoring among psychiatry inpatients with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Methods This randomized controlled trial (n? = 406) compared usual care to usual care plus telephone monitoring (one in-person session during the inpatient stay, followed by weekly telephone contact for three months post-discharge). Follow-ups were conducted at end-of-intervention (three months post-baseline) and nine and 15 months post-baseline (73% followed). Primary outcomes were number of days out of the past 30 of drinking alcohol, using drugs, and experiencing psychological problems. Secondary outcomes were outpatient substance use treatment, and 12-step group, utilization. Results Longitudinal modeling found that patients in both conditions improved over time on each primary outcome. Improvement was comparable between conditions on alcohol and drug use and psychological problems. Receipt of outpatient treatment decreased over the follow-up period and was not related to condition. Likelihood of attending 12-step group meetings did not change over follow-ups, and was not related to condition. Conclusions Improvement over time was evident regardless of condition assignment. Patients maintained attendance at 12-step groups from pre- to post-discharge. Short-term telephone monitoring in addition to usual care for patients with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders may not be sufficiently intensive to achieve additional improvements on outcomes.