650-900% INCREASE in CHILD psychiatric EMERGENCIES in just the last five years....And yet, the leading health agency in our country, the CDC, doesn't think we should be even the least bit cautious about injecting our children with neuro toxic substances which are known to cause neurological disease?
This breaks my heart that this is the new reality our children face.
"'Five years ago we were averaging something like 40 psychiatric emergency patients a month. Now we’re seeing between 300 and 400 a month,' Maxwell said."
Sept 13, 2017
“Five years ago we were averaging something like 40 psychiatric emergency patients a month. Now we’re seeing between 300 and 400 a month,” Maxwell said.
It’s a national problem, said Dr. Alfred Sacchetti, an emergency chief in Camden, New Jersey, and a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians. Hospitals across the United States often end up holding young patients in regular emergency department beds for days while their symptoms are diagnosed and follow-up appointments or inpatient placement is arranged, he said.
Researchers point to a range of reasons why demand for mental health services have increased for young patients, Sacchetti and Maxwell said.
Some note that today’s digital culture, including cyber bullying on social media, are helping to drive the trend. Others note that today’s front-line health care providers are better trained to spot mental health problems. And there has also been a gradual erosion of the availability of preventive mental health services which can keep emergencies from happening.
Rady’s plan is to create a separate wing of its existing emergency department with specially-designed private rooms, away from the hubbub of its main emergency room which can be chaotic and noisy even on slow days. The space would be staffed 24 hours a day with doctors, nurses and counselors specifically trained in emergency psychiatric response.
Sacchetti, who keeps up with the latest trends in caring for these kinds of patients, said the plan is, as far as he’s aware, unprecedented.
“It would be a huge step forward. I don’t know of any other dedicated pediatric psychiatric emergency department anywhere,” he said.
The new ward will be called the Copley Psychiatric Emergency Department in honor of a $5 million grant from the David C. Copley Foundation. Another $1 million in matching funds contributed during a Sept. 9 “Sounds of Summer” event and at the hospital’s annual Miracle Makers Gala. Ernest Rady matched every gift made at the September event which was hosted by his son Harry and and daughter-in-law Mojgan Rady.
Making the idea a reality is not without collateral costs at San Diego County’s only children’s hospital. Space is at a premium at Rady’s, which is near Sharp Memorial Hospital in the packed medical complex beside Highway 163. Adding any new service means relocating another.
Dr. Donald Kearns, Rady’s chief executive, said that watching the number of psychiatric emergencies become an ever-larger percentage of the facility’s emergency department traffic made it clear that this was a need that had to be addressed.
“Ten years ago, I couldn’t imagine we would need something like this,” Kearns said. “But this is rapidly becoming one of the top challenges that we’re dealing with every day.”
In addition to re-purposing an as-yet-undisclosed chunk of the hospital’s existing floor plan, charitable contributions will also help the hospital hire additional child psychiatrists and counselors in a market where their in-demand services carry a higher-than-average price tag.
Staff availability is the main bottleneck responsible for the eight-hour average wait time for psychiatric emergency diagnosis, Maxwell said. Some, he added, can end up waiting in an emergency room bed for a full 24 hours before a staffer is available to spend the hour or more necessary to gather enough information to decide whether they are safe to discharge home.
“The hiring that we’re doing now will allow us to have immediate psychiatric evaluation right when the patient hits the door 24 hours a day and treatment planning straight away from that point,” Maxwell said.
It’s not the only move Rady has made in recent years to try to get a handle on the psychiatric problem. In 2014 the hospital opened a Crisis Stabilization Unit which gives children and adolescents who may or may not be a harm to themselves or others a secure place for up to 16 hours of observation. Sometimes it takes that long to determine whether a child really needs to be hospitalized in Rady’s locked behavioral health ward, according to Maxwell.
“About 60 percent of those kids who are seen in the Crisis Stabilization Unit are discharged home without having to go into a locked facility,” Maxwell said.
Prevention is another big piece of the puzzle. Research shows that depression, anxiety and other forms of stress can turn into suicidal thoughts if left untreated. But the recent surge in demand for pediatric mental health appointments often mean a three-month wait to be seen.
In January, Rady opened a new pediatric psychiatric urgent care clinic in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood with the help of a $1.4 million grant from the Price Philanthropies Foundation to help take some of the pressure off of the emergency department.