Psychiatric comorbidity and the long-term care of people with AIDS

Joseph L. Goulet, Susan Molde, Janet Constantino, Denise Gaughan, Peter A. Selwyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives. To examine the association of comorbid psychiatric disorders with admission and discharge characteristics for patients residing at a long- term care facility designated for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Methods. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained by systematic chart review for all patients (N = 180) admitted to the facility from its opening in October 1995 through December 1999. Lifetime history of severe and persistent psychiatric disorders (major depression, bipolar and psychotic disorders) was determined by current diagnosis on baseline clinical evaluation or a documented past history. Results. Forty-five patients (25%) had comorbid psychiatric disorders. At admission, patients with comorbidity were more likely to be ambulatory (80% vs. 62%, P = .03) and had fewer deficits in activities of daily living (27% vs. 43%, P = .05). After controlling for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease severity, patients with comorbidity had significantly lower discharge rates (relative risk = 0.43, 95% confidence interval 0.23-0.78, P = .0001) and death rates (relative risk = 0.53, 95% confidence interval 0.42-0.68, P = .009). Conclusions. Patients with AIDS and comorbid psychiatric disorders at this facility had more favorable admission characteristics and were less likely to be discharged or to die. They may have been admitted earlier in their disease course for reasons not exclusively due to HIV infection. Once admitted, community-based residential alternatives may be unavailable as a discharge option. These findings are unlikely to be an anomaly and may become more pronounced with prolonged survival due to further therapeutic improvements in HIV care. Health services planners must anticipate rising demands on the costs of care for an increasing number of patients who may require long-term care and expanded discharge options for the comanagement of HIV disease and chronic psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • AIDS
  • Comorbidity
  • Long-Term Care
  • Psychiatric Disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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