The U.S. mental health crisis feeds into emergency room violence

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In response to “Emergency Department Workers Inherently Vulnerable to Violence” (June 29): We will never be able to properly address emergency department violence in America until we take a hard look at our ongoing mental health care crisis. This has caused violence in some cases by frustrated and distressed psychiatric patients who are held in emergency departments for long periods because there are few options for long-term care.

In a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians, an overwhelming 84 percent of ER docs report that psychiatric patients are being held or “boarded” in their emergency department — sometimes for several days — with nine in 10 saying that this practice has led to violent behavior, distracted staff or bed shortages, all of which may harm patients.

Protecting emergency patients and staff from violent acts is fundamental to ensuring quality patient care.

ALEX ROSENAU, D.O.
President
American College of Emergency Physicians
Allentown, Pa.


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