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Suggested Model for Staffing

Emergency Department Physician

This position is a cornerstone for the entire ED treatment team. They are the ultimate carriers of decision-making and responsibility for the patient’s care. The emergency department physician (ED MD) is the first physician to see the patient and initiates the order for the psychiatric consultation. The ED MD acts as the main communication point for all team members regarding the patient’s care. They place the final discharge orders for the patient, allowing the patient to leave the ED and return home.

Emergency Department Nurse

While the ED MD places the orders for the patient’s care, the emergency department nurse (ED RN) acts to carry out the orders and serves as a buttress for the entire ED team. The ED RN serves as the strongest link in the ED treatment team’s chain, and it is crucial that a quality RN is selected for this role.

Emergency Department Social Services and Discharge Planning Team

While, in our experience, we have had the ability to work with a separate ED social work team and discharge planning team, not all hospitals may have this level of staffing. The ED social work team is usually comprised of master’s-level clinicians who specialize in linking patients to community resources, including areas like housing and transportation. The ED discharge planners are licensed RNs who specialize in developing a viable discharge plan for any patient in the ED. In our experience, they have been a crucial part of developing a safe discharge plan for patients suffering with neurocognitive disorders including dementia.

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