A Better Approach to Treating Behavioral Health Crises in the ED

Scott Zeller

Scott Zeller , MD

Vice President of Operations, Acute Psychiatry

Published December 02, 2019

Physician helping a behavioral health patient in the ED

As Featured on LinkedIn

All too often we hear about health systems struggling with acute psychiatric services in their emergency departments. The majority of EDs are simply not well-equipped to treat psychiatric crises. Too often at many hospitals, the default treatment has been to hold patients for transfer to inpatient facilities, which is not only stressful for patients and staff but costly to health systems.

A behavioral health solution gaining traction across EDs nationwide is the EmPATH model. EmPATH stands for “Emergency Psychiatry Assessment, Treatment and Healing”, and it concisely describes the function of these soothing, trauma-informed environments. The goal of EmPath is to achieve better outcomes for patients with acute mental health issues by getting them immediate provider evaluations and commencing treatment in a comfortable setting, with an involved, interactive staff and regular opportunities for reassessment.

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