Children in Need of Psychiatric Care End Up Waiting in ER for Days

May 7, 2022

Bloomberg News

The stranding of psychiatric patients in emergency rooms — known as “boarding” — is a longstanding problem that’s grown dramatically worse during Covid-19. The pandemic boosted demand for treatment, while hospital labor shortages have cut the supply of caregivers. The result: a mental health care shortage with little end in sight.

Boarding “is likely at an all-time high, and that’s across all geographies — rural, suburban and urban,” said L. Anthony Cirillo, board member of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “The greatest increase we’re seeing is in the pediatric population — kids, tweens and teens. The worst of the crisis is for that population.”

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