Emergency Medicine and Health Care

Emergency Medicine and Health Care

ISSN 2052-6229
Original Research

Delays in admitting aged persons to the mental health ward from the emergency department

Euan Donley1,2*

*Correspondence: Euan Donley euan.donley@svha.org.au

1. Eastern Health Psychiatric and Emergency Response Team, Australia.

Author Affiliations

2. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne Social Work Department, Australia.


Emergency Departments (EDs) continue to experience a rise in presentations and an even greater rise in mental health presentations. An older person in a mental health crisis presenting to the ED is more likely to experience comorbidities and a longer ED length of stay (ED-LOS). This results in poorer outcomes for the individual and the organisation. Many older persons in this scenario undergo comprehensive organic screening to exclude any organic cause for their presentation. This mixed methods analysis audited hospital files over a one-year period, examining the reasons for ED-LOS. A large proportion of the aged population required organic screening, resulting in longer ED-LOS, despite mental health bed availability. This study acknowledges that organic screening of any mental health person is of important value; however, notes that screening appears to be determined by age rather than clinical presentation and at times be better suited outside of the ED.

Keywords: Emergency, aged persons, mental health, crisis

ISSN 2052-6229
Volume 6
Abstract Download