Nationally, there is a critical shortage of mental health practitioners, especially for children. Families come to the ED because they don’t know where else to go, or they’ve been put on a waiting list and just can’t wait. But the wait doesn’t end in the ED, because staff struggle to place patients in appropriate settings. Children with traumatic brain injuries, significant co-morbid medical illnesses, developmental delays, or autism can often board in the ED for days because the psychiatric hospitals cannot accept them due to these exclusionary criteria.
This is a very challenging situation for nurses, physicians, social workers, and technicians who have little training in treating mental health issues. Additionally, boarding children in the ED for days does not provide them with the most appropriate psychiatric care.
Read the rest of this blog post to learn what Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has done to improve services for their patients.