The pandemic has complicated efforts to eliminate prolonged stays in the emergency department (ED), especially for children and adolescents in need of inpatient mental health care.
North Shore-based Beverly Hospital sees more young patients waiting in the ED for placement and acuity has risen as well. While the hospital works to find them inpatient beds, the ED staff, now supported with additional specialized providers, has reconfigured spaces to provide young patients with appropriate structure, programming and amenities.
The state recently released a long-range plan for behavioral health reform but is also working on shorter-term strategies to increase inpatient capacity. That work has been made more difficult with pandemic-related distancing measures and staffing shortages.