Pediatric Mental Health Boarding: Raising Awareness to Reverse the Trend
Behavioral Health Insights
By Micah Hoffman, MD, DABPN, FAPA, QME, CIME, CHCQM
AllMed Behavioral Health Medical Director
Emergency departments (EDs) across the United States have seen a sharp rise in mental health-related visits by children and adolescents. From 2007 to 2016, visits rose 60 percent.1 Since then, the trend has continued, accelerated by the pandemic.2 At the same time, the availability of (already scarce) community resources and psychiatric inpatient beds has shrunk as staffing and funding have become depleted. The growing gap is contributing to a nationwide crisis: Young patients with acute psychiatric needs often wait or “board” in the ED for extended periods—sometimes days or weeks—until they can be placed appropriately. While boarding keeps vulnerable children physically safe, it delays the specialized mental health treatment they need to recover, sometimes even worsening their conditions. Boarding also severely strains healthcare resources.
This article explores the practice of boarding, its causes, and what can be done to mitigate its detrimental effects..…
Access the article by completing the form below: