The impact of mental health services in a pediatric emergency department the implications of having trained psychiatric professionals

Sharon M. Holder, Kenneth Rogers, Eunice Peterson, Robbie Shoenleben, Dawn Blackhurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study assessed improvement in the emergency department (ED) length of stay and costs after implementation of an ED program which added board-certified psychiatrists and trained psychiatric social workers to the pediatric ED. Methods: A retrospective medical record and administrative data review were conducted for all pediatric psychiatric visits of children aged 5 to 18 yearswhowere seen and discharged fromthe Greenville Memorial Hospital ED between January 1, 2007, and June 31, 2013. These subjects were diagnosed by the ED physician at the time of the visit using codes ranging from 290.0 to 319.0 based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Ninth Revision codes. Results: The mean (SD) age of children in the postprogram period (14.3 ± 3.1) was younger than during the preprogram period (14.9 ± 3.1) (P 0.001) with the greatest increase in the 11- to 15-year age group (42%vs 35%, respectively). Patients in the postprogram periodwere significantlymore likely to be discharged to a psychiatric hospital than during the pre-program period (18% vs 9%, respectively). After the initiation of the program, ED length of stay decreased significantly from 14.7 to 12.1 hours (P 0.001) and costs per visit decreased slightly fromUS 602 toUS 588 (this difference was not statistically significant). Conclusions: Although this model of care has significant costs associated with it, the efficiency of care for psychiatric pediatric patients in the ED improved after targeted training of ED staff and provision of these specialized services within the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-314
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric emergency care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Length of stay
  • Trained psychiatric professionals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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