The Louisiana emergency department behavioral health challenge.
Hurricane Katrina uncovered and exaggerated Louisiana's behavioral health crisis. Patients with mental illness are backlogged in emergency rooms across the state, unable to access inpatient psychiatric treatment. Post-Katrina, part of the department of psychiatry of the Louisiana State University (LSU) New Orleans was displaced to Huey P. Long Medical Center (HPLMC) in Pineville, Louisiana. While displaced, LSU wrote a grant to develop a psychiatric emergency room service at HPLMC and in the process experienced a number of barriers to optimal behavioral healthcare in the emergency department (ED). The ED plays an essential role in our state's system of care for the mentally ill. However, EDs throughout the nation traditionally have not had the provisions necessary for optimal behavioral healthcare. In this article, we will address barriers to implementing proper provisions for sound behavioral healthcare in the ED. We will outline an affordable and available mental health personnel infrastructure that integrates with the ED's medical model of care, and improves quality of care of the mentally ill and the functional level of the ED, as well as the morale and job satisfaction of ED healthcare providers.
Griffies, WS; Collins, WJ; Adams, AE
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