Emergency Psychiatry - Delivery of Services

Delivery of Services

The place where emergency psychiatric services are delivered are most commonly referred to as Psychiatric Emergency Services, Psychiatric Emergency Care Centers, or Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Programs. Mental health professionals from a wide area of disciplines, including medicine, nursing, psychology, and social work work in these settings alongside psychiatrists and emergency physicians. The facilities, sometimes housed in a psychiatric hospital, psychiatric ward, or emergency room, provide immediate treatment to both voluntary and involuntary patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Within a protected environment, psychiatric emergency services exist to provide brief stay of two or three days to gain a diagnostic clarity, find appropriate alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization for the patient, and to treat those patients whose symptoms can be improved within that brief period of time. Even precise psychiatric diagnoses are a secondary priority compared with interventions in a crisis setting. The functions of psychiatric emergency services are to assess patients' problems, implement a short-term treatment consisting of no more than ten meetings with the patient, procure a 24-hour holding area, mobilize teams to carry out interventions at patients' residences, utilize emergency management services to prevent further crises, be aware of inpatient and outpatient psychiatric resources, and provide 24/7 telephone counseling.

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