Assessment of routine laboratory screening of adult psychiatric patients presenting to an emergency centre in Cape Town

Crede, Andreas ; Geduld, Heike ; Wallis, Lee (2011-12)


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Managing mental health patients forms part of the workload in emergency centres (ECs) throughout the Western Cape (WC), which has an estimated overall lifetime prevalence of mental health disorders of 39.4%. The Mental Health Care Act of 2002 requires that patients presenting with a mental health disorder and requiring involuntary or assisted admission be admitted to a designated hospital for 72 hours for assessment and treatment. Their entry point in most cases is via the EC, which places additional strain on emergency facilities. The high incidence of mental health disorders in adolescence, when many adult mental health conditions begin, is expected to increase because of increasing social stressors such as poverty, displacement and conflict in low-income areas.3 We can therefore expect an increasing human and financial resources burden on health care facilities.

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