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Evidence of practice gaps in emergency psychiatric care for borderline personality disorder: how can this be explained?

BMC Psychiatry 2020 September 30
BACKGROUND: Recent research has highlighted that patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) could experience symptomatic remissions. This led to the production of guidelines concerning the most appropriate care. In addition, as BPD patients frequently present at an emergency department (ED), specific recommendations concerning how they should be cared for there have also been developed. The recommendations include the referral of patients to inpatient, outpatient or specific crisis care. However, an issue that has not been addressed is the capacity of ED services to apply the care recommendations. The objective of our study, therefore, was to identify the factors limiting their use in the ED of Toulouse University Hospital.

METHODS: A panel of psychiatrists specializing in BPD care examined the medical files of 298 patients with a BPD diagnosis to determine which referrals were consistent or not, according to the care recommendations. A logistic regression was then performed to identify which sociodemographic, clinical, organizational or professional-training factors were associated with inconsistent referrals.

RESULTS: 32% of patients experienced an inconsistent referral. Consultations performed during an on-call or day-off schedule were linked with inconsistent referrals, while an active follow-up was associated with the provision of consistent care.

CONCLUSION: Changing how evaluations of BPD patients in the ED are organized during on-call and day-off schedules could improve the application of the care recommendations regarding the most appropriate referrals.

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