A chekclist of hospitalization criteria for use with children

A. J. Costello, M. K. Dulcan, R. Kalas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Each year in the U.S. more than 130,000 children are hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. The decision to hospitalize a child is based on a complex set of factors. In this study, a 12-item checklist of criteria for hospitalization adapted by the authors was tested for its ability to predict hospitalization in a cohort of 389 children between the ages of two and 12 who were evaluated for either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Eighty-seven (22%) of the children were subsequently hospitalized. In 95% of the cases, the checklist was able to correctly predict whether the patient was hospitalized. A shorter checklist of six items was also able to predict the subsequent form of treatment in 95% of the cases. Although such checklists cannot take the place of informed clinical decisions, they can serve as a guide to decision making, especially for inexperienced mental health workers, and as a tool for utilization review when treatment decisions are questioned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-828
Number of pages6
JournalHospital and Community Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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