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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 58 (2016) 9, 624 - 631

New research

Working methods of ambulatory psychiatric emergency services in the Netherlands

J. Stobbe, J.R.J. de Leeuw, C.L. Mulder

background No recent information is available concerning the working methods of the ambulatory psychiatric emergency services in The Netherlands.
aim To obtain insight into the working methods of the ambulatory psychiatric emergency services.
method We performed a descriptive research.
results Twenty of the 28 ambulatory psychiatric emergency services participated in our study (more than 71 %). The study revealed that some of the ambulatory psychiatric emergency services used differing procedures. However, all the services had a common target: they dealt with young people, adults and the elderly. In half of the organisations it was the community mental health nurse who initially went alone to visit a prospective patient. There are large differences in the number of face-to-face contacts made by emergency services and in the type of medication provided before the patient was taken by ambulance to a psychiatric hospital.
conclusion In our study we describe the working methods used by several of the ambulatory psychiatric emergency services in the Netherlands. However, our investigation produced only limited information because participating institutions were often unable to provide the information we requested and/or they did not record the methods they had used. More attention needs to be given to the best way of dealing with patients who already have an official ‘emergency card’; in addition, more information is required about whether the medication used by the emergency services influenced the subsequent course of the treatment that a patient received. In view of the current situation certain important features of the emergency services such as the quality of care they provided remains underexposed.

keywords acute psychiatry, acute ambulatory psychiatric care, psychiatric crisis, urgent psychiatry