A Rise In People Seeking Psychological or Drug Addiction Treatment, Leaves Hospital Leaders Concerned

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by Sarah Jane Tribble

The emergency department at University Hospitals Case Medical Center has noticed a new normal in recent months, says Jane Dus, the chief nursing officer at UH. 
"At any given time, we have anywhere between one and 8 patients in our emergency room needing placement for an inpatient psychiatric admission... and there is a complete lack of psych beds in the community and in the state," Dus says. 
Most hospitals in the region have some inpatient pscyh beds, but it's just not enough for the increased demand, says Dus.
And UH isn't alone. The number of people seeking psychological or drug addiction treatment from Northeast Ohio hospitals is steadily climbing and has been for the past decade, according to a new report from the Center for Health Affairs.  

The local hospital advocacy group found in its latest report that the number of days pscyh patients or those with drug addiction spent in local hospitals had risen by 5 percent in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year. 

Dus says that demand and shortage of beds, keeps patients waiting. 
"The average stay of these patients in our emergency room is 16 hours and a third of them stay over 24 hours waiting for placement," Dus says. "To get psychiatric patients admitted is incredibly challenging."
Dus says the patients are often suicidal or are suffering from mental illnesses such as bipolar and schizophrenia.


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