Friday, November 04, 2011

Suicidal? You may end up in podunk, virginia

When are there too many psychs for one emergency department to handle at once? Is it five, ten? How about eleven? Thats right, apparently the world has gone nuts becuase that is how many we had yesterday evening. Its gotta be a record. Luckily they were calm, cool and collected psych patients. Nobody tried to ram their head against the wall.

Of course, when the ER has that many psychs, the majority of which will be admitted, its trouble. There are not going to be that many beds or staff for all those patients. Then what? Then they are transferred to other hospitals in the city or suburbs. If we are full, chances are their has been some change in barometric pressure in the country, and they may be full too. What then? Then you go outstate to hospitals in smaller cities. Those cities may be 100-200 miles away.

So picture this: You are on a 72 hour hold. You are going to be admitted whether you like it or not. In a situation like this, you will be admitted anywhere we can get you a bed. That may be 150 miles away. Away from where you live, work, your family is.

That is the modern mental health care system in a nutshell in this country. If you ever need help again, think you will come back?


Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Not a chance in hell I’d come back if that’s a possibility. Our current system had better change or we will sink into a maelstrom from which we may never emerge in our lifetimes.

Insurers should be hung with the entrails of their adjusters.

rnraquel said...

I know. I have had to give directions in my rusty Spanish to family members whose relative was being sent to a psych facility 200 miles away. There has got to be a better way.

Anonymous said...

What do insurers have to do with it? Nothing - if no beds are available, there is no space. Insurance wasn't even mentioned.

christine said...

Yes, they will keep coming back because they have nowhere else to go except maybe jail. Our ER build a 6-bed annex for stable psych boarding patients, which is nearly alway full. This is in addition to the 3 lockdown rooms in the main ED. I think our record has been 24 psych patients at one time in our 45-bed ER. It sucks for them, it sucks for us, and it sucks for the other patients who now have longer wait times to be seen because we've lost half our beds.