Constant observation in a medical-surgical setting. The role of consultation-liaison psychiatry.

R M Lamdan
D Ramchandani
B A Schindler, Dept. of Psychiatry, Drexel University College of Medicine


Constant observation (CO) is commonly used in general hospital settings to protect patients who are at risk for harming themselves or others. The role of consultation-liaison psychiatry in the implementation of this procedure is often assumed, but has not been well studied. The authors report the findings of a 6-month study of the use of CO in a general hospital and discuss its implications for quality of care and, possibly, cost-effectiveness.