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The Alcohol Emergency Room in a General Hospital: A Model for Crisis Intervention
Stephen L. Dilts; Barry R. Berns; Edmund Casper
Psychiatric Services 1978; doi:
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Northwest Denver Community Mental Health Center Denver (Colo.) General Hospital

American Psychiatric Association

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The alcohol emergency room at Denver General Hospital provides a model for crisis intervention for alcoholics. The unit is staffed 24 hours a day by nurses. Patients spend an average of 45 minutes in waiting time and triage. About half the patients require inpatient treatment; the others are referred to outpatient programs. Unit staff emphasize consultation and liaison with other hospital staff to coordinate the treatment system and provide education on aspects of alcoholism. They also explain the patient's condition and needs to his significant others, who provide crucial external support. Staff currently see 400 patients and answer about 270 telephone requests for information about alcoholism treatment monthly.

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