Mental health-related visits among pediatric patients to the emergency department are rapidly increasing, suggesting resources may need to be reallocated to optimize care.
Elisa Mapelli, MD, of BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada and colleagues conducted a restrospective cohort study of tertiary pediatric emergency department (ED) visits from 2003 to 2012, with all complaints and diagnoses relating to mental health included. The researchers analyzed number and acuity of mental health-related visits, length of stay, waiting time, admission rate, and return visits.
Over the nearly 10-year period, pediatric ED visits related to mental health increased by 47%, compared to a 9% increase in total visits. Return visits were among a significant portion of all mental health-related visits (31%-37% yearly), while mental health visits categorized as high-acuity has decreased and those triaged as mid-acuity increased. Additionally, those complaining of mental health issues had longer stays in the emergency department, with a 23% increase observed in the number of mental health-related visits resulting in admission.
The researchers suggest that allocation of resources be reevaluated to improve acute care, risk assessment, and transition to mental health services for those presenting with mental health complaints in the emergency department.
Emergency department visits for mental health-related complaints are on the rise among pediatric patients.
Elisa Mapelli, MD, of BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of tertiary PED visits from 2003 to 2012. All visits with chief complaint or discharge diagnosis related to mental health were included. Variables analyzed included number and acuity of mental health-related visits, length of stay, waiting time, admission rate, and return visits, relative to all PED visits. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the results.