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Journal Article


Wolff JC, Maron M, Chou T, Hood E, Sodano S, Cheek S, Thompson E, Donise K, Katz E, Mannix M. Adm. Policy Ment. Health 2023; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2023, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Over the past decade, healthcare providers nationwide have contended with a growing boarding crisis as pediatric patients await psychiatric treatment in emergency departments (EDs). COVID-19 has exacerbated this urgent youth mental health crisis, driving EDs to act as crisis units. Journey mapping is a robust methodology with which to examine strengths and challenges in patient care workflows such as boarding and emergency psychiatric care. Psychiatric, emergency medicine, and hospitalist providers serving patients boarding at a northeastern children's hospital participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews. Investigators conducted directed content analysis with an inductive approach to identify facilitators, barriers, and persistent needs of boarding patients, which were summarized in a patient journey map.

FINDINGS were presented to participants for feedback and further refinement. Quantitative data showed a three-fold increase in the number of patients who boarded over the past three years and a 60% increase in the average time spent boarding in the ED. Emergent qualitative data indicated three stages in the boarding process: Initial Evaluation, Admitted to Board, and Discharge. Data highlighted positive and negative factors affecting patient safety, availability of beds in pediatric hospital and psychiatric inpatient settings, high patient-provider ratios that limited staffing support, and roadblocks in care coordination and disposition planning. Patient journey mapping provided insight into providers' experiences serving patients boarding for psychiatric reasons.

FINDINGS described bright points and pain points at each stage of the boarding process with implications for psychiatric care and systemic changes to reduce boarding volume and length of stay.

Language: en


Psychiatry; Suicide; Mental health; Emergency medicine


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