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Psychiatr Prax. 1986 Nov;13(6):203-12.

[Psychiatric emergency care and crisis intervention--concepts, experiences and results].

[Article in German]


Psychiatric emergencies and life crises are located at opposite ends of a broad scale of stages requiring acute help: Emergency cases need immediate medical care in order to prevent danger to life. For the same reason, immediate hospital admission and additional treatment of risks of internal medicine have to be provided, if necessary. Crises often have not only mental but also social aspects. The immediate urgency of treatment is determined by the psychiatric (suicidal) or the physical risk. Emergency cases and severe crises require a 24-hour medical service. Social aspects cannot be settled in the night-time, even if they are urgent. Emergency and crisis intervention services with a multidisciplinary staff therefore ascribe different roles to physicians, nurses and social workers. Since 1976, the Central Institute of Mental Health provides a 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency service both at the Institute and at the emergency ward of the Mannheim University General Hospital. Within few years, the number of treated episodes has increased to 1,800-1,900 per year. The distance between the place of work or residence is a decisive factor of service utilization. Over 50% of the users of the emergency and crisis intervention service are mentally ill. Only a small part are contacts for crises without psychiatric disorder. Suicidal attempts or intentions account for about 30% of the service users, marriage crises for about 25% and alcohol problems also for about 25%. The development of complementary care in Mannheim has led to a parallel increase in the proportion of chronically mentally ill living in complementary facilities. This clearly indicates that a 24-hour emergency and crisis intervention service is a compulsory prerequisite for the implementation of an efficient system of complementary care for the mentally ill.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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