Lack of Inpatient Beds and Specialists Puts Patients at Risk

January 19, 2011

A shortage of inpatient beds and staff at mental health facilities may mean that a patient presenting to an emergency department may be there for an extended period of time.

A recent survey by the Schumacher Group shows that because of a lack of inpatient beds and staff at mental health facilities, a patient presenting to an emergency department may be there for an extended period of time, sometimes, days at a time. The survey examined staffing and operational trends at over 600 hospital emergency departments in the United States. The results show a range of challenges facing America’s hospitals.

A large majority (86%) of the emergency department administrators surveyed said their facilities are often unable to transfer mental health patients to inpatient care in a timely fashion and as a result, patient care is compromised. William Schumacher, MD, head of the Schumacher Group said, “The mental health problem in America is being swept under the rug for hospital emergency departments to deal with. We need a proactive way to address this challenge.”

For complete results of the survey, go to: www.schumachergroup.com.

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