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Psychiatr Q. 2018 Dec;89(4):771-778. doi: 10.1007/s11126-018-9579-2.

Psychiatric Emergency Services - Can Duty-Hour Changes Help Residents and Patients?

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Department of Psychiatry, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, 11219, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, 11219, USA.


Limitations on resident duty hours have been widely introduced with the intention of decreasing resident fatigue and improving patient outcomes. While there is evidence of improvement in resident well-being and education following such initiatives, they have inadvertently resulted in increased number of hand-offs between clinicians leading to potential errors in patient care. Current literature emphasizes need for more specialty/setting-specific scheduling, while considering residents' opinions when implementing duty-hour reforms. There are no reports examining the impact of duty-hour changes on residents or patients in psychiatric emergency service (PES) settings. Our purpose was to assess the impact of a recent scheduling change and decrease in overall duty hours, on resident well-being and sense of burnout, while also evaluating changes to patient wait-time and length of stay (LOS) in PES. Residents completed Maslach Burnout Inventory and anonymous surveys focusing on: fatigue, sleep, life outside work for shifts - regular (8 am-8 pm) and swing shifts (12 pm-10 pm). Data from the electronic medical records were collected for 6 months pre- and post-schedule change (January 2016-February 2017), for LOS and patient wait-time. Residents' preference for shifts was split. However, 86% reported getting enough sleep during swing shifts, while 83% reported lack of sleep during regular shifts. The average patient wait-time and LOS significantly decreased from 169 to 147 and 690 to 515 min, respectively. The change to swing shifts significantly impacts LOS and patient wait-time. The short shifts demonstrated an improvement in well-being for residents, but were not the singular factor for overall resident satisfaction.


Duty hours; Psychiatric emergency services; Residents

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