Improving Awareness of an Acute Psychiatric Unit's Capacity for Admission

J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2015 Aug;53(8):30-5. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20150720-05.


New admissions to psychiatric inpatient units can significantly impact the environment and level of safety. Maintaining safety is a core and critical responsibility of nursing, but nurses are often overlooked in the decision to admit a patient. Missed opportunities for dialogue between nurses and the admitting physician challenge nurses' ability to proactively manage the therapeutic environment. When nurses are limited in this ability, the outcome can be an unpredictable and unstable milieu. In a 25-bed acute psychiatric inpatient unit, a formalized communication system among the multidisciplinary admission team was developed. Data collected over 1 year demonstrated improved safety. Increasing the admitting provider's awareness of the current unit acuity and involving the nursing staff early in the admission process improved collaboration among care team members and reduced risks to maintaining milieu safety.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Awareness*
  • Communication
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / nursing*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Admission / standards*
  • Patient Safety
  • Physician-Nurse Relations
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Psychiatric Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Socioenvironmental Therapy / organization & administration*