Susan L. Stearns, executive director of NAMI New Hampshire
Emergency department boarding has been a long-term problem in hospitals. It first started with a shortage of beds when psychiatric hospitals were shut down. And now, particularly after two years of a pandemic, there’s a shortage of staff.
Units can’t be opened because there’s no one to cover. In an already chaotic environment with nowhere else to go, patients in a mental health crisis can sit in hallways for hours, days, or even weeks waiting for a psychiatric bed to open up. If another patient comes in presenting with more severe symptoms, that can bump the earlier patient down the waiting list.
That situation can occur when a patient is seeking psychiatric treatment. But what if it’s involuntary?
Through a new process, implemente...
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