Emergency Psychiatry - Observation and Collateral Information

Observation and Collateral Information

These are to other functions of emergency psychiatry. The observation of the patient's behavior is an impart aspect of emergency psychiatry. Many jurisdictions base involuntary commitment on dangerousness or the inability to care for one's basic needs. Observation for a period of time may help determine this. For example, if a patient who is committed for violent behavior in the community, continues to behave in an erratic manner without clear purpose, this will help the staff decide that hospital admission may be needed.

Collateral information or parallel information is information obtained from family, friends or treatment providers of the patient. Some jurisdictions require consent from the patient to obtain this information while others do not. For example in a patient who is thought to be paranoid about people following him or spying on him, this information can be helpful to decide if these thoughts are more or less likely to be based in reality. Past episodes of suicide attempts or violent behavior can be confirmed or disproven.

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