Introduction Despite recent advances, the frequency of psychiatric hospitalisations remains high.
Objective To identify the frequency of readmissions in a psychiatric hospital associated with patients' social demographic and clinical profiles.
Methods A structured questionnaire was applied during 2008 to collect the reports from the Psychiatric Hospital at Ribeirão Preto - Brasil.
Results In 2025 records, 681 readmissions (34%) were identified. Most of the subjects (99%) came from the same region of the study, the majority were men, white, 30% aged 40–49 and 26% up to 29 years, 23% were married. Most of the readmissions were caused only by treatment dropout (47%) or associated with low family support (26%). Prevalent diagnoses were schizophrenia (27%), affective disorders (30%) and use of alcohol and drugs (15%). The mean age at beginning of disease was higher among men (p=0.001). The length of stay in the hospital was higher for women, especially in the age group 40 to 49 (p=0.032). Associations were found between gender and age (p=0.007), marital status (p=0.000), reason for hospitalisation (p=0.002), physical status on admission (p=0.004), hospitalisations in other psychiatric hospitals (p=0.003), type of discharge (p=0.003), treatment during hospitalisation and physical status at discharge (p=0.004).
Conclusions The flow of care is consistent with the principles of regionalisation of the Unified Health System (SUS), however, the rate of readmissions due to treatment dropout is very high, which is an epidemiological alert to all sectors involved.