Emergency Psychiatric Care

FACTS

  • Emergency psychiatric care is needed for the urgent and aggressive treatment of behavioral and psychiatric symptoms.
    • Uncontrolled depression
    • Thoughts of suicide
    • Uncontrolled anxiety
    • Panic attacks
    • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
    • Delusions
    • Hallucinations
    • Uncontrolled anger
    • Agitation
    • Combativeness
    • Threatening harm to self or others
  • Care is provided in an inpatient setting from a multidisciplinary team.
    • Psychiatrist
    • Medical provider including physicians and advance practice providers
    • Registered nurse
    • Licensed social worker
    • Rehabilitation specialist
    • Counselor

INDICATIONS

  • Behavioral or psychiatric symptoms causing significant distress for the individual and urgent treatment is needed.
  • Multiple attempts to treat symptoms in the outpatient setting have been unsuccessful.
  • Initiating advanced therapies in the outpatient setting would be unsafe.
  • Symptoms are increasing the risk of harm to self or others and include suicidal thoughts and aggressive, threatening behavior to others.

HOW TO START EMERGENCY PSYCHIATRIC CARE

  • IF THE INDIVIDUAL IS AN IMMEDIATE THREAT TO THEMSELF OR OTHERS, CALL 9-1-1. An ambulance will take them to the closest Emergency Room.
  • IF PERSONAL SAFETY IS AT RISK GET TO A SAFE PLACE AND CALL 9-1-1. Take cell phone and car keys if it is safe to get them.
  • NEVER TRY TO NEGOTIATE OR BARGAIN WITH SOMEONE WHO IS THREATENING HARM.
  • If an ambulance is not needed and safety of the individual or caregiver is not at risk, take the person to an Emergency Room for evaluation. This can be a psychiatric or general hospital Emergency Room. During office hours, please contact your Memory & Movement (MMC) team for assistance.
  • Psychiatric Emergency Rooms
    • Atrium Health Billingsley
      • 704 Billingsley Road, Charlotte, NC 28211
      • 704-444-2400
    • Novant Presbyterian Hospital
      • 200 Hawthorne Lane, Charlotte, NC 28204
      • 704-384-4000
    • Atrium Health Mercy
      • 2001 Vail Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28207
      • 704-304-5000
    • Atrium Health/Behavioral Health Davidson
      • 16740 Davidson-Concord Road (Hwy 73) Davidson, NC 28036
      • 704-801-9400
    • Atrium Health Cabarrus
      • 920 Church Street North, Concord, NC 28025
      • 704-403-3000
    • Novant Thomasville
      • 207 Old Lexington Road, Thomasville, NC 27360
      • 336-472-2000
    • Atrium Health Stanley
      • 301 Yadkin Street, Albermarle, NC 28001
      • 980-323-4492

EMERGENCY ROOM CARE

  • The Emergency Room team will assess the individual and decide if inpatient psychiatric care is needed.
  • Providing a detailed medical history and review of current symptoms is essential for helping the Emergency Room team make an informed decision about care that is needed.
  • If an inpatient psychiatric admission is advised, the individual will stay under the care of the Emergency Room until a bed is available. For older adults, specify that an inpatient geriatric psychiatry unit is preferred because the environment is specifically designed to care for older individuals.
  • Extended wait times in the Emergency Room of days to a week or more may occur due to the limited availability of inpatient psychiatry beds, particularly inpatient geriatric psychiatry beds.
  • Often the person is transferred to another facility for inpatient psychiatric care.
  • While in the Emergency Room, the treatment plan will be managed by the medical team. A psychiatrist may be consulted in person or by telehealth.
  • Regional inpatient geriatric psychiatry units
    • Atrium Health Cabarrus
      • 920 Church Street North, Concord, NC 28025
      • 704-403-3000
    • Novant Health Thomasville
      • 207 Old Lexington Road, Thomasville, NC 27360
      • 336-472-2000
    • Carolina Dunes Behavioral Health
      • 2050 Mercantile Drive NE, Leland, NC 28451
      • 888-211-6314

INPATIENT PSYCHIATRY

  • Once admitted to the inpatient unit, the individual will be evaluated by the multidisciplinary team noted above.
  • The goal is to control symptoms as quickly and safely as possible.
  • A treatment plan is developed including medication management. Often this involves starting new medications or adjusting existing medications.
  • Communicate with the multidisciplinary team on a regular basis.
  • The MMC provider is available to discuss medications and treatment plans with the caregiver and the medical provider on the unit, however the primary management is the responsibility of the inpatient psychiatry team.
  • The licensed social worker is a key person to talk with to discuss discharge plans when the individual’s symptoms are controlled.
  • Ongoing outpatient psychiatric care is often necessary.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

  • Atrium Behavioral Health 24/7 Assistance Line
    • 704-444-2400
    • Crisis intervention help line providing strategies, resources and support
  • Novant Behavioral Health
    • 800-718-3550
    • 24 hour mental health access line providing strategies, resources and support
  • Suicide Help Line
    • 9-8-8
  • Poison Control
    • Mecklenburg County
      • 704-355-4000
    • Outside Mecklenburg County
      • 800-222-1222
    • Community Policing Crisis Response Team
      • 704-566-3410
      • Crisis intervention trained police officers paired with a mental health clinician to provide humane, compassionate, and effective law enforcement in response to behavioral health calls associated with violence or self-harm within Mecklenburg County 7 days a week from 7am to midnight.