Psychiatric patients turnaround times in the emergency department
1 Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Landesklinik Teupitz, 15755 Teupitz, Germany
2 Department of Clinical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, 30623 Hannover, Germany
3 Departement of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
4 Department of Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, 30623 Hannover, Germany
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health 2005, 1:27 doi:10.1186/1745-0179-1-27Published: 13 December 2005
To analyze the turnaround times of psychiatric patients within the Emergency Department (ED) from registration to discharge or hospitalization in a University Hospital in 2002.
Data from a one-year period of psychiatric admissions to the emergency service at a University Hospital were monitored and analyzed focused on turnaround times within the ED. Information on patients variables such as age, sex, diagnosis, consultations and diagnostic procedures were extracted from the patients' charts.
From 34.058 patients seen in the ED in 2002, 2632 patients were examined by psychiatrists on duty. Mean turnaround time in the ED was 123 (SD 97) minutes (median 95). Patients to be hospitalized on a psychiatric ward stayed shorter within the ED, patients who later were admitted to another faculty, were treated longer in the ED. Patients with cognitive or substance related disorders stayed longer in the ED than patients with other psychiatric diagnoses. The number of diagnostic procedures and consultations increased the treatment time significantly.
As the number of patients within the examined ED increases every year, the relevant variables responsible for longer or complicated treatments were assessed in order to appropriately change routine procedures without loss of medical standards. Using this basic data, comparisons with the following years and other hospitals will help to define where the benchmark of turnaround times for psychiatric emergency services might be.