Emergency departments (EDs) may already be invalidating environments for patients diagnosed with a personality disorder, with negative attitudes from staff perpetuating patients' feelings of dismissal and rejection. Despite a higher prevalence of patients with personality disorder in health services, including EDs, than the general population, there is a lack of literature on how achieving ED targets may affect this patient group. This article expands on Harden's concept of destructive goal pursuit in relation to the four-hour target and uses the literature to illustrate how pressures to meet the target may distort clinical priorities and result in adverse clinical outcomes for patients. It makes recommendations for practice including using short-stay units in which patients can be treated outside of the target wait time and introducing mental health triage in EDs to improve delivery of psychosocial assessments.
Brian Haslam, M. (2019). How the emergency department four-hour target affects clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with a personality disorder. Emergency Nurse : The Journal of the RCN Accident and Emergency Nursing Association, 27(4), 20–24. https://doi.org/10.7748/en.2019.e1930