Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Low-Intensity Case Management Increases Contact with Primary Care in Recently Released Prisoners

The world prison population is large and growing. Poor health outcomes after release from prison are common, but few programmes to improve health outcomes for ex-prisoners have been rigorously evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of individualised case management on contact with health services during the first 6 months post-release.

Single-blinded, randomised, controlled trial. Baseline assessment with N=1325 adult prisoners in Queensland, Australia, within 6 weeks of expected release; follow-up interviews 1, 3 and 6 months post-release. The intervention consisted of provision of a personalised booklet ('Passport') at the time of release, plus up to four brief telephone contacts in the first 4 weeks post-release.

Of 1179 eligible participants, 1003 (85%) completed ≥1 follow-up interview. In intention-to-treat analyses, 53% of the intervention group and 41% of the control group reported contacting a general practitioner (GP) at 1 month post-release (difference=12%, 95% CI 5% to 19%). Similar effects were observed for GP contact at 3 months (difference=9%, 95% CI 2% to 16%) and 6 months (difference=8%, 95% CI 1% to 15%), and for mental health (MH) service contact at 6 months post release (difference=8%, 95% CI 3% to 14%).

Individualised case management in the month after release from prison increases usage of primary care and MH services in adult ex-prisoners for at least 6 months post-release. Given the poor health profile of ex-prisoners, there remains an urgent need to develop and rigorously evaluate interventions to increase health service contact in this profoundly marginalised population.

Below:  Percentage of intervention group participants contacting a general practitioner (GP) at 1 month post release, according to number of intervention telephone calls completed

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  • 1Griffith Criminology Institute & Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mater Research Institute-UQ, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  • 2School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  • 3Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
  • 4Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
  • 5Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mater Research Institute-UQ, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. 
  •  2016 Jan 19. pii: jech-2015-206565. doi: 10.1136/jech-2015-206565. 


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