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Emergency Psychiatry

General (ER)

General Description and Overview

The Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) is a centralized service providing emergency psychiatric assessments and care to the city of Hamilton, region of Haldimand and Grimsby. Located adjacent to and affiliated with the medical ER at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, the PES has dedicated clinical space for up to& 8 patients with behavioural and emotional disturbances. PES is staffed with psychiatric nurses and social workers with ER training as well as ER Physicians, Psychiatrists and Students from every discipline. All patients must be referred by a physician to the PES and medically stable prior to assessment. PES assesses approximately 7300 emergency psychiatric assessments per year for adults and seniors.

Services provided

  • emergency psychiatric consultations
  • extended assessments and brief interventions
  • dialectical behaviour therapy interventions and psychoeducation
  • acute pharmacological treatments
  • referrals to all acute inpatient units and SJHH outpatient psychiatric clinics
  • referral to community-based substance abuse programs, mental health services and other supportive services

The PES provides training in emergency psychiatry to all residents in the McMaster psychiatry residency program. All PGY-1 psychiatry residents complete a month-long rotation in the PES. All psychiatry residents take all on-call for PGY-2 to -5 years in the PES, with senior residents (PGY-3, -4, -5) having greater responsibility than junior residents. Elective opportunities are also available.

The PES is an integral part of the mental health network in Hamilton. We collaborate with inpatient units, outpatient services and many community support services to provide timely, empathic and thorough emergency psychiatric assessments to people with mental health crises.

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