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Letter from America: acute in-patient psychiatry bed shortages

  • Steven S. Sharfstein
Summary

The number of in-patient beds for psychiatric treatment in America has declined dramatically over the past 40 years. Public and private policies have encouraged an extremely short-term, crisis-stabilisation model of treatment. This is true on both general and subspecialty units. As a result, readmissions have increased, emergency rooms are crowded, and many patients end up homeless or incarcerated in the criminal justice system. These changes have created a public health crisis in America, and are the greatest challenges that American psychiatry faces today.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Steven S. Sharfstein, MD, Sheppard Pratt Health System, 6501 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21204, USA. Email: ssharfstein@sheppardpratt.org
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Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Jencks, SF, Williams, MV, Coleman, EA (2009) Rehospitalizations among patients in the Medicare fee-for-service program. New England Journal of Medicine; 14: 1418–28.
New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003) Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. Final Report. New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.
Sharfstein, SS, Dickerson, FB, Oldham, JM (eds) (2009) Textbook of Hospital Psychiatry. American Psychiatric Press.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Letter from America: acute in-patient psychiatry bed shortages

  • Steven S. Sharfstein
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