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Chapter 42 - Triage of psychiatric patients in the emergency department

from Section 6. - Administration of psychiatric care

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2013

Leslie S. Zun
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Mt Sinai Hospital, Chicago
Lara G. Chepenik
Affiliation:
Yale University School of Medicine
Mary Nan S. Mallory
Affiliation:
University of Louisville, School of Medicine
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Summary

Facilitating efficiency and safety, triage is the process by which multiple patients are rapidly assessed for risk and queued for care by the emergency department (ED) providers. Before conducting an assessment and formulating a treatment plan with psychiatric patients in the ED, clinicians are encouraged to obtain pre-arrival patient information whenever possible. Ambulatory patients with psychiatric complaints may present to triage alone or arrive with family or friends. It is advisable to have a protocol for determining the location of initial triage based on the circumstances of arrival. Continual reassessment of patient status is critical for clinical care. At various points in this chapter, the movement of patients from one clinical environment to another is discussed. Each transition includes an attendant hand-off between clinical providers. At times, a patient is sent to the emergency department en route to an inpatient psychiatric unit, for example, from a psychiatric clinic.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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