After an emergency department visit, what are some ways of supporting continuity of care with a follow-up outpatient visit for mental health?

Patients with serious mental illness commonly present to emergency departments with acute problems or exacerbations of their existing conditions. The risk of adverse outcomes including suicide are greatly elevated during the period immediately following those visits. However, after discharge, fewer than half of these patients successfully transition to outpatient care. Care management strategies that follow patients from acute settings to outpatient care can help improve patient engagement and reduce readmissions. Successful programs combine needs assessments during the acute crisis with ongoing care management to facilitate engagement with outpatient care. Consider working with your clinic to develop partnerships with local emergency rooms to ensure timely follow up and reduce readmissions after discharge.


Gaynes BN, Brown C, Lux LJ, et al. Management Strategies To Reduce Psychiatric Readmissions [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2015 May. (Technical Briefs, No. 21.) Available from:

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