Evidence Summary: Psychiatric intensive care units

What you need to know

  • Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) can vary by bed numbers, staffing levels, admission criteria, environment, treatments provided, supervision and training of staff.
  • The placement of intensive care in the overarching philosophy of acute care provision also varies by each PICU.
  • Standards exist in the United Kingdom and Australasia for different PICU elements, including unit design, staffing, administration and interventions, but were not identified for other jurisdictions.
  • PICUs are often filled beyond capacity due to insufficient availability of community-based support resources for PICU patients.
  • There are no international standards for number of PICU beds per capita, but researchers across several countries note the number of acute care psychiatric beds per 100,000 people being inadequate.

Read more about Psychiatric Intensive Care Units in this Evidence Summary [PDF]

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