BACKGROUND: Psychotic illnesses have a substantial economic burden on patients, family members, friends, and society in general, still there have been limited attempts to estimate the costs associated with this condition. Moreover, nothing is known about the differences in costs between patients depending on disease severity, i.e. state of remission.
AIM: Estimate the direct and indirect costs for a defined patient population with psychotic illness in Sweden, and demonstrate differences in direct costs depending on disease severity (state of remission).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cost analyses are based on data from the Clinical Long-term Investigation of Psychosis in Sweden (CLIPS), which is an ongoing, single-centre, epidemiological study. Resource use and disease severity were captured for the patients during one year, 2007. Total costs per patients are estimated and cost differences between patients, depending on state of remission, are considered.
RESULTS: 199 patients with a mean age of 51 (63% men) were followed for 12 months. They had a mean of 6.4 inpatient-days, 1.4 physician visits, 18.6 nurse visits, 1.2 counsellor visits and 6.3 visits to other staff including tests and diagnostic procedures per patient- year. The mean total cost (direct and indirect) amounted to 62,500 per patient and year. Patients in steady state of remission had lower direct costs compared to other patients. Moreover, the size of the various cost items differed between patients' depending on state of remission. Patients in steady remission had almost no inpatient costs.
DISCUSSION: For a comprehensive assessment of treatment of psychotic illnesses it is necessary to provide evidence of the costs related to disease severity. We find that patients suffering from psychotic illness have varying costs depending on their disease severity, and this study indicates that if patients can be kept in remission direct costs will decrease. We can also confirm that reallocation has taken place the last 15 years, between different cost items, from in-patient care at hospitals to out-patient care and assistance at home.
LIMITATIONS: Information about informal care was collected from patients and not from informal carers themselves.
IMPLICATIONS FOR HEALTH CARE PROVISION AND USE: Costs have been reallocated from in-patient care to costs for assistance at home, which is a reflection of the change in care of patients with mental problems that has taken place during the last 15 years. Patients in steady remission have lower costs compared to patients in steady non-remission or patients switching between the two states. A better surveillance of the disorder would lead to lower direct, as well as indirect, costs.