Emergency Services are increasingly dealing with patients who elope prior to receiving care, many times due to lengthy wait times. Patient safety issues associated with these scenarios include increased risk of:
Mental health exacerbation
Diversion which can lead to dangerous delays of care
ACTIONABLE ITEMS TO MITIGATE RISK
Review/establish an elopement policy
Review triage policy/process
Identify those at risk for elopement (such as those suffering with psychosis, dementia, drug or alcohol-related conditions)
Perform a gap analysis to address issues such as opportunities to reduce risk, assessing staffing, etc.
THE CULTURE CONNECTION
Open Communication: Interview staff to see if they have concerns regarding patient elopement
Teamwork: Develop a communication tool that will inform all ED staff of a high risk elopement patient.
Share: Openly share peer-reviewed best practices from the literature and processes that have been implemented at your facility or other facilities.