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Ward, Julie
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Introduction: The Urgent Follow-up Integrated Treatment Team (UFITT) program is the primary mental health follow-up program for individuals attending the Crisis Response Centre (CRC) and Health Sciences Centre emergency department. Although approximately 130 individuals are referred to the UFITT program each month, there is a high rate of no-shows. No research has been done on these individuals referred to UFITT regarding their demographics, characteristics, or what happens after their referral. This study aimed to better understand if there are common clinical and demographic characteristics that can be identified within the individuals that attend aftercare following their UFITT referral, compared to those that do not. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that individuals who do not engage in any part of the UFITT program represent with a mental health crisis faster and more often compared to those who do attend follow-up care through the program. Methods: The study period was from August 1 to November 30, 2022 and included all individuals who presented to either the Crisis Response Centre, emergency department, urgent care, or Crisis Stabilization Unit between August 1 and September 30, 2022 with a mental health crisis who were referred to and accepted by UFITT. These individuals were then divided into two cohorts, those that attended at least one visit to the UFITT program: “UFITT engagement”, and those that did not: “No UFITT engagement”. Using the CRC electronic health record program (Momentum), descriptive statistics were used to compare the two groups on clinical and sociodemographic characteristics at time of referral. Descriptive statistics were also used to compare the groups on the outcome of health service use within their 60-day follow-up period. Results: Of the 122 individuals, 73 (59.8%) did not engage in any UFITT services, while 49 (40.2%) of the remaining individuals engaged in one or more services offered by the UFITT program. The group that did not engage in UFITT follow-up were younger, more often unhoused, and had higher rates of personality disorders, previous hospitalizations, and almost half misused substances. Suicidal behavior did not distinguish the two groups. Twelve (16.4%) patients that had no UFITT engagement and 11 (22.4%) patients that engaged with UFITT services represented within 60 days of their initial presentation. There were more individuals who represented in the first 20 days in the No UFITT engagement group compared to the UFITT engaging group. Discussion: The first hypothesis is partially supported by the dissimilarities observed between cohorts as those in No UFITT were younger, had more previous hospitalizations, and higher rate of substance misuse. The results do not support the hypothesis that individuals who do not engage in UFITT aftercare return to the CRC more often. Although results provide support for the hypothesis that those not engaging with UFITT aftercare represent sooner, it is unknown if this is statistically significant. The No UFITT cohort was additionally observed to have marginally worse health outcomes. More research is needed to determine the significance of these dissimilarities.