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Meeting standards set for non self-harm presentations to emergency departments

  • Diane Mullins (a1), Siobhan MacHale (a2) and David Cotter (a3)


Objectives: The commonest psychiatric presentation in most emergency departments (EDs) is deliberate self-harm. However, there are other significant categories of psychiatric presentation which include alcohol and substance misuse, acute psychosis and mood disorder. In addition to the NICE Guidelines for deliberate self-harm, there are good practice guidelines available for the management of other psychiatric attendances to the ED. The aim of this study was to identify the psychiatric attendances other than deliberate self-harm to Beaumont Hospital ED over a 12-month period with the objective of studying the rates and characteristics of attendances and to investigate whether good practice guidelines were met.

Method: From a total of 657 psychiatric attendances other than deliberate self-harm which were recorded, data was collected on demographics, provision of a psychosocial assessment and adherence to good practice guidelines.

Results: Alcohol (38%) was the most common reason for presentation. Of the total number of attendees, only 44% received a psychosocial assessment compared to 59% of attendees who had presented following deliberate self-harm during the same 12-month period.

Conclusions: The attendees who did not receive a psychosocial assessment represent a vulnerable group in which the levels of psychosocial assessment need to be improved in order to meet good practice guidelines standards of care.


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