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Patients repeatedly attending accident and emergency departments seeking psychiatric care

  • Eugene F. Okorie (a1), Colm McDonald (a1) and Brendan Dineen (a1)
Abstract
Aims and method

This study was conducted to ascertain the clinical characteristics of patients who repeatedly attend accident and emergency (A&E) department seeking psychiatric assessment and care. We identified 24 individuals who attended frequently and compared them with 72 matched single attenders using data abstracted by chart review.

Results

Individuals who attended frequently made up 5.3% of all patients who attended the A&E department for psychiatric care but accounted for 19% of all such presentations. Compared with controls, they were younger at first psychiatric contact and had higher rates of schizophrenia and psychiatric admissions.

Clinical implications

A small but distinctive group of patients repeatedly seek and obtain hospital-based psychiatric care. Early identification of these patients and targeting them with effective, community-oriented strategies, such as home treatment, could improve their quality of life and prognoses as well as reduce the cost of their care.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Eugene F. Okorie (eugene.okorie@nuigalway.ie)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Bassuk, E, Gerson, S. Chronic crisis patients: a discrete clinical group. Am J Psychiatry 1980; 137: 1513–7.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Patients repeatedly attending accident and emergency departments seeking psychiatric care

  • Eugene F. Okorie (a1), Colm McDonald (a1) and Brendan Dineen (a1)
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