Background: Relapse prevention is an important objective in the management of serious mental illness (SMI). While community mental health nurses (CMHN) might be well-placed to support people with SMI in averting relapse, no systematic reviews have examined this association.
Aim: To review the evidence from studies reporting an association between CMHN exposure and hospitalisation of persons living with SMI (a proxy for relapse).
Methods: Searches were undertaken in ten bibliographic databases and two clinical trial registries. We included studies of patients with SMI, where CMHN was the exposure, and the outcome was relapse (i.e. readmission to a psychiatric inpatient facility). Quality assessment of included studies was completed using two risk-of-bias measures.
Results: Two studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies were rated as being of low-moderate methodological quality. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that community mental health nursing reduced the risk of admission to psychiatric inpatient facilities.
Conclusions: The review found no evidence that CMHN was associated with higher or lower odds of admission to psychiatric inpatient facilities among patients with SMI. The findings of the review point to a need for further research to investigate the impact of CMHN exposure and relapse in people with SMI. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42017058694.