Cost Analysis of Community Based Family Support of Patients with Severe Mental Illness
Community-based family support is a new option to patients with severe mental illness in which the patient and a volunteer family meet on a regular basic. This study examined whether this support could reduce patients’ use of psychiatric services. This matched case-control study included 86 patients with severe mental illness. 40 patients were offered the intervention: community-based family support intervention. Patients’ use of psychiatric hospital services was followed from 2 years before to 2 years after the intervention using a difference-in-difference analytical approach. Although community-based family support seemed to reduce hospital admission, the reduction in cost did not compensate the cost of the programme. However, this does not rule out the potential cost effectiveness, and future studies should assess the clinical benefits and cost effectiveness of community-based family support. The present study does not provide sufficient basis for recommending the general implementation of community-based family support.