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Psychosomatics. 2005 Jan-Feb;46(1):65-70.

Treatment of psychiatric hospital patients transferred to emergency departments.

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Department of Family Medicine and Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01604, USA.


Two hundred public psychiatric hospitals were surveyed regarding their management of inpatients with serious medical problems. Of the 102 hospitals responding, 98 had a formal arrangement with a medical facility for transfer and treatment. Fifty of the respondents felt they regularly had difficulty in receiving acceptable information from the receiving hospital, and 37 perceived that their patients regularly received less than optimal care. There was a significant direct correlation between difficulty obtaining information and the perception of suboptimal care. Seventy-nine hospitals had developed a referral form for the transfer of information to the receiving facility. The results point to an important area of discontinuity in the care of the seriously mentally ill.

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