Objective: To determine the impact of an outpatient psychiatric Emergency Room Follow-up Team (ERFUT) on the hospitalization rate of youth in crisis (mostly suicidal adolescents).
Method: The rate of psychiatric admissions of youth to a general pediatric hospital during a year prior to the ERFUT creation was compared to that same rate after the team's creation. The proportion of patients returning to the Emergency Room (ER) 2 or more times was also compared for those same years. Deaths were identified at 3-year follow-up for the experimental group.
Results: A 16% reduction in the hospitalization rate followed the team's creation, without an increase in the proportion of patients returning to the ER. Also, none of the experimental group subjects had died at 3-year follow-up.
Conclusion: There is a subpopulation of previously hospitalized suicidal adolescents who can be effectively cared for as outpatients when treated rapidly and intensively.