Original Research

Costs of adult functional neurological disorders at a tertiary hospital in central South Africa

Leonriche L.C. Christopher, Paul J. Pretorius, Anand Moodley, Gina Joubert, Tracy Arendse
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a2010 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.2010 | © 2023 Leonriche L.C. Christopher, Paul J. Pretorius, Anand Moodley, Gina Joubert, Tracy Arendse | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 October 2022 | Published: 20 June 2023

About the author(s)

Leonriche L.C. Christopher, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Paul J. Pretorius, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Anand Moodley, Department of Neurology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa; and Department of Neurology, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Gina Joubert, Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Tracy Arendse, Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Functional neurological disorders (FND) lead to increased care requirements and costs, negatively impacting healthcare budgets. Healthcare expenditure in FND has escalated beyond other neurologic disorders during the past decade.

Objectives: To assess inpatient costs in adults admitted to the neurology ward at Universitas Academic Hospital (UAH) in central South Africa.

Methods: A retrospective observational study with a comparative component was conducted on patients admitted during 2018 and 2019. All FND cases (n = 29) and a systematic sample of other neurological disorders were included in the comparison group (n = 29). Data were obtained from the Meditech billing system and clinical records.

Results: FND patients accounted for 5.5% of 530 admissions in the neurology ward during the study period. No significant differences regarding daily median cost, age categories, gender or medical comorbidity were observed between FND and the comparison group. However, the length of stay was significantly shorter for the FND patients (median of four versus eight days), translating to approximately half the total costs of patients admitted for other neurological disorders.

Conclusion: The daily median cost was similar for FND and other neurology-related admissions. The lower overall inpatient costs for FND patients were only related to significantly shorter durations of stay, which may reflect new diagnostic approaches resulting from changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria. The prevalence of FND was similar to those reported in previous studies conducted at neurology clinics.

Contribution: The study contributes towards better understanding the prevalence and cost of FND in local neurology inpatient care settings.


Keywords

functional neurological disorder; neurological disorders; inpatient costs; hospitalisation; FND prevalence; FND demographic variables.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1512
Total article views: 1243


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.