NH has new procedure for involuntary emergency admissions

By Eileen Weber
June 28th, 2022
Susan L. Stearns, executive director of NAMI New Hampshire
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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