Just a few years ago, it was rare that children with mental health problems would spend two or more nights in the emergency room at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Only 40 children stayed that long in 2010.
So far this year, more than 250 children have spent multiple nights in the emergency department (ED) – a number expected to reach 500 by the end of the year.
As policy makers work to finalize a statewide children’s behavioral health plan, a report by the hospital, obtained by C-HIT, projects that children with mental health problems will spend a total of 3,085 nights in the ED – more than triple the number in 2010. The average stay is about 15 hours, with some children remaining in the ED for 10 days or more.
Yale-New Haven Hospital also has seen a 10- to 15-percent increase in ED visits this year, as it has in each of the past several years, said Dr. Andres Martin, medical director of children’s psychiatric inpatient services.