Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mental Health Wait Game

I was sent this article about mental ill patients waiting in the ER for a bed or room for treatment. A mother received a call that her daughter was O.K. although she was in the emergency room. Her daughter had gone missing overnight. “Police had found her in a Dumpster and brought her to the ER for her own safety. It was a huge relief for her mother.” Her mother probably said she will get help now. At least she is safe. Although what she found out what happened next shocked the mother. “I went down to this emergency room and just found her by herself, basically locked in a closet.” She was in an exam room. Although her daughter had nothing to eat or any form of treatment for mental illness in at least twenty four hours.
They eventually admitted the woman, although she had a long wait. This does not just happen in Denver, but all throughout the nation. They should be prepared by now. “It’s very difficult to see patients waiting in the emergency room for, in some cases, really days,” he goes on to say: “The fact that is, in many ways, their first introduction to mental health care is, in my mind devastating.” That is your first introduction to what is to come? That would be hard and would you even follow their advice knowing they do not care enough to see you right away? A person tries to get help and you have to play a waiting game.
One hospital chain is trying to change that. “Denver’s HealthOne Hospital chain is opening a new psychiatric ward with 40 beds. It’ll be one of the first Colorado has seen in years.” That would help a lot. HealthOne does not want more mentally ill patients, but shorter ER waits. “ER wait times are often a function of how many people are in your waiting room, and how many available beds you have.” If mentally ill patients are waiting a long time then so do other people who want to be seen for another problem. This will not fix the problem, but it will help. I do not have patience and it would be hard to just wait to see a doctor if I am mentally ill.

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