Seton Psychiatric Emergency Department

In order to properly address and treat people with psychiatric needs, it’s critical to have the right resources in place. Across the nation, it’s common for people in a behavioral health crisis to be taken to community emergency departments. This is problematic because many emergency departments do not have the right resources to properly diagnose and treat people with behavioral health problems.

Seton Psychiatric Emergency Department, a department of Dell Seton Medical Center, has been built with the help of federal and local funding. The aim of the psychiatric emergency department is to provide an emergency department specifically designed to help people with psychiatric needs. The new facility allows people in crisis to receive the care they need, in the best environment and in a timely manner.

This initiative is one of Seton’s DSRIP case studies.

The Problem with Accessing Psychiatric Care

With insufficient facilities and programs to care for psychiatric emergencies, conventional emergency and trauma departments can be the only option for people with behavioral health issues. However, most community emergency departments are not well-equipped for supporting people’s psychiatric needs. Often, this can lead to treatment delays for both the person seeking psychiatric help and other people at the emergency department, as well as unnecessary inpatient admissions, increasing costs for both the individual and the healthcare system.

People may spend hours or days waiting to be transferred to an inpatient psychiatric bed when a less restrictive and more affordable alternative could have been reached. This can frustrate those affected and their families and make people with behavioral health issues less likely to seek help when they need it.

Our Initiative

The Seton Psychiatric Emergency Department evaluates people with behavioral health concerns and places them in a clinically appropriate and cost effective environment. The results should allow for more timely treatment, more comprehensive care and less financial cost.

The Plan

The Seton Psychiatric Emergency Department will offer:

  • 24/7 access to psychiatrists and other behavioral health experts to assess and treat people in crisis and/or connect them with appropriate community programs.
  • An environment that is specially designed to be safe and appropriate for people with psychiatric needs.
  • A single point of care for law enforcement and other behavioral health crisis workers to bring or transfer people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

Benefits to the Community

Quickly treating behavioral health patients and preventing unnecessary inpatient admissions and emergency department readmissions is not only beneficial to the people being treated, but also to the greater community:

  • Lower health system costs
  • Better care for people with behavioral health issues
  • Decreased overcrowding in standard emergency departments
  • 24/7 access to crisis services
  • Preservation of the dignity and privacy of people with psychiatric needs and their families