Publications by authors named "Paul Morea"

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Characteristics, clinical care, and disposition barriers for mental health patients boarding in the emergency department.

Am J Emerg Med 2021 08 12;46:550-555. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

UNC School of Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States of America. Electronic address:

Background And Objectives: Lack of mental health resources, such as inpatient psychiatric beds, has increased frequency and duration of boarding for mental health patients presenting to U.S. emergency departments (EDs). The purpose of this study is to describe characteristics of mental health patients with an ED length of stay of one week or longer and to identify barriers to their disposition.

Methods: This study was conducted in an academic ED in which emergency psychiatric evaluations and care are provided by a Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) team contained within the Department of Emergency Medicine. Prolonged boarding was defined as an ED length of stay of 7 days or more. Pediatric, adult, and geriatric mental health patients with prolonged ED boarding from January 1 to August 31, 2019 were included. This study includes prospective data collection of the boarding group and retrospective identification and data collection of a comparison group of non-barding patients over the same 8-month period to compare patient characteristics and outcomes for each group.

Results: Between January 1 and August 31, 2019, the PES team completed 2,745 new assessments of mental health patients, of whom 39 met criteria for prolonged ED boarding. The following characteristics were associated with boarding: child (8%), male (64%), having Medicaid (49%) or both Medicaid and Medicare (18%), and having either a neurodevelopmental (15%) or neurocognitive disorder (15%) with a median stay of 18 days. Barriers to discharge included being declined from all state inpatient psychiatric hospitals (69%), declined from community living environments (21%), or declined from both (10%). The most common ED non-boarding patients were: Caucasian (64%), have a diagnosis of unspecified mental disorder (including suicidal ideation) or other specified mental disorder (59%) and have private insurance (42%) with a median stay of 1 day.

Conclusion: In this study of mental health patients with prolonged ED stays, the primary barrier to disposition was the lack of patient acceptance to inpatient psychiatric hospitals, community settings, or other housing. Early identification of potential prolonged boarding, quality treatment and care for those patients, and effective case management, may resolve the ongoing challenges of boarding within the ED.
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August 2021