Rapid response team for behavioral emergencies.
Behaviors of patients with psychiatric illness who are hospitalized on nonbehavioral health units can be difficult to address by staff members. Instituting a rapid response team to proactively de-escalate potential volatile situations on nonpsychiatric units in a hospital allows earlier treatment of behavioral issues with these patients. The behavioral emergency response team (BERT) consists of staff members (registered nurses, social workers) from behavioral health services who have experience in caring for patients with acute psychiatric disorders as well as competence in management of assaultive behavior. BERT services were trialed on a medical pulmonary unit; gradual housewide implementation occurred over 2 years. Tools developed for BERT include an activation algorithm, educational cue cards for staff, and a staff survey. Results of a performance improvement survey reveal that staff nurses have had positive experiences with BERT but that many nurses are still not comfortable caring for psychiatric patients on their units.DOI: 10.1177/1078390310363023