American Association for Emergency Psychiatry Task Force on Medical Clearance of Adults Part I: Introduction, Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines.

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West J Emerg Med


INTRODUCTION: In the United States, the number of patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) for a mental health concern is significant and expected to grow. The breadth of the medical evaluation of these patients is controversial. Attempts have been made to establish a standard evaluation for these patients, but to date no nationally accepted standards exist. A task force of the American Association of Emergency Psychiatry, consisting of physicians from emergency medicine and psychiatry, and a psychologist was convened to form consensus recommendations on the medical evaluation of psychiatric patients presenting to EDs.

METHODS: The task force reviewed existing literature on the topic of medical evaluation of psychiatric patients in the ED (Part I) and then combined this with expert consensus (Part II).

RESULTS: In Part I, we discuss terminological issues and existing evidence on medical exams and laboratory studies of psychiatric patients in the ED.

CONCLUSION: Emergency physicians should work cooperatively with psychiatric receiving facilities to decrease unnecessary testing while increasing the quality of medical screening exams for psychiatric patients who present to EDs.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Advisory Committees; Emergency Medicine; Evidence-Based Medicine; Female; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Physicians; Practice Guidelines as Topic; Surgical Clearance; United States

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