At any given time roughly one third of evaluation rooms within our Emergency Department are occupied with behavioral health patients. This patient cohort is often cleared for medical complications while simultaneously assigned Involuntary Emergency Admission (IEA) status. IEA status entitles a patient a bed at the state run psychiatric facility external to our organization. Due to chronic lack of funding at the state level wait times for such an emergency psychiatric bed often runs several days in length. The net result is multi-day boarding of psychiatric patients in community based emergency departments, growing security concerns, increased pressure on staff trained in emergency medicine (not psychiatry) and an erosion of patient experience by the balance of patients who receive care in areas most proximal to disruptive patients.
Reflecting on the material contained in Module 1 “Design for Excellence” what programmatic, clinical and/or physical plant related recommendations would you consider to help improve the situation for our providers, patients and staff?