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Psychiatr Serv. 2006 Apr;57(4):563-6.

Use of emergency department services for somatic reasons by people with serious mental illness.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA.



This study identified factors associated with use of the emergency department for medical reasons among individuals with serious mental illness.


A total of 200 randomly selected outpatients who were receiving community-based psychiatric care were recruited for the study and interviewed with items from the National Health Interview Survey and other national health surveys.


Emergency department use (37 percent of the sample) was negatively associated with older age and positively associated with the number of co-occurring medical conditions, smoking, recent injury, and recent change in health care provider.


The relatively high rate of emergency department use may be suggestive of inappropriate use or may reflect perceived barriers to care. Future work should identify specific reasons for seeking care in the emergency department and develop interventions to optimize appropriate emergency department use.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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