The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

January 23, 2013

Psychiatric patients wait in ERs as inpatient beds are scaled back

(Continued)

Although the websites may help, they won’t entirely resolve what some doctors say is the larger issue for psychiatric patients: There’s often nowhere for them to go.

“Our biggest problem is a lack of bed capacity,” Sternlicht said.

The Dubins’ emergency-room saga resulted in a successful inpatient stay for Mia, but they said they think the experience is likely to repeat itself.

Johns Hopkins declined to comment on Mia’s emergency-room stay specifically, but a spokeswoman said in an e-mail: “Providing the best possible care in the most efficient manner possible is our primary goal. Recognizing there is always room for improvement, we encourage our patients and families who feel we haven’t met these goals to contact us.”

The director of psychiatry for Northwest Hospital’s parent company said Northwest is increasing its adult bed count by nine this year but acknowledged that there is a “national shortage of inpatient beds” and that patients with psychiatric emergencies tend to wait in the ER four to five times longer than other patients there.

 

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