When is inpatient care indicated for patients with depression?

Updated: Sep 02, 2020
  • Author: Louise B Andrew, MD, JD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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When depression is diagnosed, particularly when suicidality is present or reasonably suspected, the primary care provider, often in consultation with a mental health professional, should design an interim disposition plan appropriate to the diagnosis and degree of risk that is assessed.

This may require legal certification that the patient is in need of emergency evaluation and protective observation, the provision of emergency or short-course medication, contracting for safety with the patient, and/or releasing the patient into the protective custody of his or her family or a law enforcement agency.

While evaluating and securing an appropriate disposition for the patient, all staff members must take measures to ensure the safety and preserve the dignity of the patient.

Transfer is indicated when there is a need for protective custody or intensive intervention that is not available at the present institution.

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