CHICAGO, Nov. 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Washington Post recently reported the story of Zachary Chafos, an 18-year-old who “langed for a total of 76 days in a Maryland emergency room while waiting for a psychiatric bed” . This type of situation is common across the country and is a singular example of one of the many factors contributing to the growing crisis in mental health treatment for adolescents in the United States. Partial hospitalization (PHP) and intensive outpatient care (IOP) programs, such as Compass Health Center, help provide solutions.
Mental health treatment spans a continuum of care, with outpatient support on one side and hospital and residential care on the other. In the middle are the PHP and IOP programs, which can provide effective multidisciplinary treatment for patients requiring more than one-hour weekly support, but less 24/7 care, and serve as transition for patients leaving hospital and residential care. Compass Health Center’s PHP/IOP model was one of the first of its kind in the nation and plays a crucial role in treating children, families and individuals in behavioral health crisis without requiring a hospital stay. .
“Unfortunately, Zachary’s situation is all too common across the country. Children are housed in the emergency room or are transferred to medical floors, often staying several days without any psychiatric care, until a bed is found. released to the inpatient psychiatric unit. With the recent surge of RSV cases, even the medical beds are full, leaving no choice but to ship kids like Zachary to the ER. It’s unsustainable. because it has a profound effect not only on children and their families, but also on the rest of the acute care system,” said Alex Timchak, MD, regional medical director, Compass Health Center. “We need long-term solutions system-wide term to keep children in crisis out of the ER. PHP and IOP programs are part of this solution. Compass provides PHP and IOP programs for patients in crisis with symptoms of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, trauma, or OCD. Our mission is to have these patients evaluated and initiated treatment within 48 to 72 hours; in many cases, without having to go to the emergency room. »
The ratio of psychiatrists to patients in need doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s needed to improve mental health outcomes for young Americans. Young people in this country are facing a devastating mental health crisis that was already prevalent before the pandemic but exacerbated by its effects. In the fall of 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Association of Children’s Hospitals declared a national child and adolescent mental health emergency. As The New York Times reports, “In the United States, ER visits for attempted suicide increased 51% for teenage girls in early 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. The figure increased 4% for the boys.”
“ER visits and psychiatric hospitalization should be among the last options for providing mental health treatment to children and adults. Not knowing if your child can even find a psychiatric bed when children and families are already in crisis can only exacerbate the pressure on everyone. Luckily, there are good treatment options where children can see a psychiatric provider within 24 hours of assessment,” said Timchak, MD.
Like all behavioral health programs, PHP and IOP programs may look different depending on where they are offered. Some are attached to large hospital systems and others are stand-alone practices. It is up to individuals and families to determine which type of PHP/IOP program is right for them. Where a patient seeks care will also depend on treatment needs, access to in-person care or preference for virtual treatment, health insurance, and a psychiatric assessment by the admitting practice. .
“The goal of intermediate levels of care such as PHP/IOP is to keep children out of the hospital, at home and with their families whenever possible. This is what drives our mission at Compass, because this not only speeds up treatment time, but also improves outcomes in these vulnerable children, and at the end of the day, that’s what really matters,” said Timchak, MD.
Compass Health Center plans to expand its in-person and virtual treatment options outside of Illinois to Maryland in the spring of 2023. There is a growing need for comprehensive levels of PHP and IOP care for children, adolescents, youth adults and adults in the mid-Atlantic and across the United States.
Associate Director, Brand Management, Compass Health Center
Image 1: Nationwide mental health crisis for teens
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National teen mental health crisis