Psychiatric boarding in Washington state and the inadequacy of mental health resources

Joseph D. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Psychiatric boarding is a term derived from emergency medicine that describes the holding of patients deemed in need of hospitalization in emergency departments for extended periods because psychiatric beds are not available. Such boarding has occurred for many years in the shadows of mental health care as both inpatient beds and community services have decreased. This article focuses on a 2014 Washington State Supreme Court decision that examined the interpretation of certain sections of the Washington state civil commitment statute that had been used to justify the extended boarding of detained psychiatric patients in general hospital emergency departments. The impact of this decision on the state of Washington should be significant and could spark a national debate about the negative impacts of psychiatric boarding on patients and on the nation’s general hospital emergency services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-222
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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