September 2017. Indig D, Gear C, York A.

This review examined evidence about when inpatient care is the most effective and appropriate form of care for children and adolescents with moderate to severe mental disorders. The evidence is limited and synthesis is difficult given the small sample sizes and variability in patient populations, interventions, outcomes and models. There is strong evidence that treatment outcomes may be improved by increased involvement of the family in the young person’s care. The review found no absolute indicators for inpatient care — clinical judgement is required and the risk of harm must be weighed against the potential benefits. There is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness and appropriateness of inpatient care for specific sub-populations of children and young people.