, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 101-121

The Psychiatric Emergency Service: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

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The Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) has evolved into a separate service with its own space and staff specialized for the handling of psychiatric emergencies. A study of trends in our PES reveals increased need for children's services, issues with managed care and an expansion in the use of the PES as a filter for the mental health system in dealing with substance abuse. Education and research have been added to the missions of the PES and there is strong potential for future development in this area. PESs of the future may be very different, with advances in communication, safety, computerized records and databases. New dilemmas in balancing the patient's right to confidentiality and autonomy against the potential of these advances are bound to occur.