Compulsory community treatment orders (CTOs) are controversial because they enforce psychiatric treatment of patients in the community. It is important to know which patients benefit from compulsory treatment to better inform CTO use.
To examine the effect of a range of diagnoses on outcomes associated with CTOs to determine whether there are specific outcome signatures for CTOs according to diagnosis.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health databases provided demographic, service use and medication-dispensing data for all individuals placed on a CTO between 2009 and 2018. We used a hierarchical approach to categorise individuals according to diagnosis. Admission rates, admission days per year, community care and medication dispensing were analysed according to diagnosis and CTO status.
In total, 14 726 patients were placed on a CTO over the 10-year period between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2018. For psychotic disorders, CTOs were associated with reduced admission frequency and duration. However, the opposite occurred for dementia disorders, bipolar disorders, major depressive disorder and personality disorders. Higher rates of medications, including depot antipsychotic medications, were dispensed on CTOs for all diagnostic groups.
CTOs were associated with reduced admission frequency and admission days per year for patients with psychotic disorders, whereas the opposite occurred for other diagnostic groups. Rather than seeking to establish whether CTOs are effective, we suggest that there are specific outcome signatures associated with CTOs for different disorders and knowledge of these can improve understanding and clinical practice in this area.