Psychiatric Emergency Room Receives Renovation

Mount Sinai’s Psychiatric Emergency Room can accommodate up to 10 patients, has a dedicated area for adolescents and new amenities like a shower and televisions

For over a decade, Mount Sinai’s Psychiatric Emergency Room has provided expert evaluations and stabilization for adolescents, adults and geriatric patients in psychiatric crisis 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Now, in addition to delivering the best possible care, the emergency room can also provide the best possible environment for patients.

In March 2012, as part of a $3.325 million grant awarded by the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers (HEAL NY), the emergency room space was renovated and expanded to accommodate the growing number of patients seeking emergent psychiatric care at Mount Sinai. Ever since North General Hospital — which was located in Harlem — closed in July 2010, there has been a 10 percent increase in patient volume. Mount Sinai’s psychiatric emergency room staff performs approximately 3,000 evaluations each year, half of which lead to admission into one of Mount Sinai Hospital’s inpatient psychiatric units.

“Nearly one-third of our patients live in East Harlem,” explains Amy Johnson, MD, Director of the Psychiatric Emergency Room and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. “These patients needed a place to go when North General Hospital closed, and they came to us for help.”

The remodeled space can accommodate up to 10 patients and has a dedicated area for adolescents. The facility also has new amenities including a shower and televisions. Says Dr. Johnson: “We hope that the new space will make the experience of visiting the emergency room less upsetting and more comfortable for patients.”

The main services offered at the psychiatric emergency room include crisis intervention and safety assessments. Patients, who are self-admitted, brought in by a family member or ambulance, or referred to Mount Sinai from an outside provider, typically present to triage, which is located in the hospital’s main emergency room. Once the patient is medically stable, they are brought to the psychiatric emergency room for an evaluation. Every patient is seen by at least one clinician who then determines if they should be admitted into the hospital, transferred to another facility or discharged back into the community and followed-up with as an outpatient.