Background: Psychiatric emergency services are major gateways to in-patient mental health care. In order to ensure successful treatment outcomes and the appropriate utilisation of scarce mental health resources, the disposition (hospitalisation versus out-patient care) of patients attending the emergency department should be consistent with their clinical needs. Aim: To assess the factors associated with the disposition of patients attending a psychiatric emergency department in Lagos, Nigeria.
Method: Consecutive attendees (n=648) at the Emergency Department of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Yaba Lagos, Nigeria were assessed with the Crisis Triage Rating Scale, Clinical Global Impression scale, Global Assessment of Functioning and a clinical/socio-demographic pro-forma. The pro-forma was completed after comprehensive psychiatric assessment and included the disposition of the patients.
Results: On stepwise logistic regression analysis, younger age (p=0.001), dangerousness (p<0>
Conclusion: Clinical factors were central to the disposition of patients attending the psychiatric emergency department. However the age of the patients influenced disposition decisions. Development of local guidelines may enhance the appropriate disposition of service users.