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Psychiatr Serv. 2015 Jul;66(7):668-70. doi: 10.1176/

"Boarding" Psychiatric Patients in Emergency Rooms: One Court Says "No More".

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Dr. Appelbaum, who is editor of this column, is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York City (e-mail: ).


"Boarding" involuntary psychiatric patients in medical emergency rooms is common in many parts of the United States. The practice, driven by a shortage of alternative resources, including limited inpatient capacity, can result in patients' being held for days without treatment or a hospital room, often in busy corridors or treatment rooms. A recent challenge to this practice led the Washington Supreme Court to declare it illegal and resulted in the appropriation of substantial funding to create new psychiatric beds. Centralized psychiatric crisis services, with appropriate payment models, may offer another approach to reducing the need for holding patients awaiting inpatient admission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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