Role of a psychiatric liaison nurse in an A & E department

Accid Emerg Nurs. 1997 Jul;5(3):152-5. doi: 10.1016/s0965-2302(97)90010-2.


Attendances at Accident & Emergency (A & E) departments by patients with mental health problems are on the increase. An emphasis on care in the community for patients with psychiatric disorders, and a society which is placing increased demands on the vulnerable, has meant that A & E departments are increasingly having to manage patients who have self-harmed and patients with acute mental health problems. Arguably, it is no longer acceptable or necessary for all patients presenting with self-harm to be admitted to hospital or to have a full evaluation by a psychiatrist. Other options exist whereby such patients can be managed in an efficient and appropriate way. One such option is the introduction of a psychiatric liaison nurse to the A & E department, who can liaise with A & E staff and with all available psychiatric services to offer optimal treatment for a patient. Such a service can obviate the need for involving psychiatric services directly on the day a patient presents. This paper describes the role of a psychiatric liaison nurse in an A & E department. It illustrates how effective the role can be by describing two case histories and outlining the psychiatric liaison nurse's work practice in the A & E department.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team
  • Psychiatric Nursing*
  • Role
  • Workforce