Care of patients with mental health issues in the emergency department: a quality improvement project
Evidence and practice    

Care of patients with mental health issues in the emergency department: a quality improvement project

Mark Kenneth Goldstein , Clinical nurse manager, emergency department, St Anthony Hospital, Centura Health, Lakewood, CO, US

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise the potential clinical challenges of caring for patients with mental health issues in the emergency department (ED)

  • To learn about a US quality improvement project undertaken to enhance mental health care in an ED

  • To consider measures that may enhance the care of patients with mental health issues in the ED

Mental health issues have increased significantly over the past decade in the US and emergency departments (EDs) often serve as a safety net to protect and support patients with mental health issues. However, many EDs in the US are not equipped to provide the level of advanced care that patients experiencing a mental health crisis require. This article describes a quality improvement project conducted in an ED in Colorado, US, to identify and address deficiencies in the care provided to patients with mental health issues. The care of patients with mental health issues in the ED can be enhanced through measures such as implementing a validated suicide risk assessment tool, reducing ligature risks, improving the physical environment and training staff in de-escalation techniques.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2092

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

markgoldstein1967@yahoo.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Goldstein MK (2021) Care of patients with mental health issues in the emergency department: a quality improvement project. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2092

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank: the emergency department staff at St Anthony Hospital for their dedication to their department and patients; Dr Shawn Zembles, Tali Montesi and Dr Jason Roth for their assistance in teaching many crisis intervention training courses throughout Colorado; Dr Lynn Pierzchaliski-Goldstein for editing this manuscript; and all of the above for their willingness to champion the process of improving care for patients with mental health issues in the emergency department

Published online: 21 September 2021

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