The Particulars: Research indicates that rising numbers of psychiatric patients are being treated in EDs. In turn, this has contributed to overcrowding, boarding, increased wait times, and more demands on ED staff, and ultimately lowers quality of care. Ancillary services used within the ED may address crowding and psychiatric readmissions by enabling staff to connect with psychiatric patients in this setting. This approach may also help educate ED staff about effective outpatient services.

Data Breakdown: Researchers analyzed data collected by a mental health agency that worked together with an ED that had a dedicated psychiatric observation unit in a study. Patients who received oral instructions and paperwork for follow-up care (control group) were compared with those who physically met with and were engaged by a mobile outreach team before discharge (outreach group). Patients in the outreach group were more likely to attend initial follow-up appointments (odd ratio, 1.43) than those in the control group.

Take Home Pearl: Use of mental health outreach teams in the ED appears to increase adherence with initial follow-up appointments among psychiatric patients.