Acute psychiatric assessments outside hospital by the PAM unit

With the aim to handle acute psychiatric assessments outside the hospital as well as acute suicidal situations, the PAM units operate every day. The vehicles are dispatched from SOS Alarm for assignments all over Stockholm county. From December 2020 there are two cars running from 11 a.m to 9 p.m and from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. respectively.

Photo: Yanan Li.

The PAM unit is a cooperation between Norra Stockholms psykiatri and AISAB, the somatic ambulance in Stockholm city. AISAB is in charge of the vehicles and a paramedic in each car, while Norra Stockholms psykiatri staffs the car with two specialist nurses. The vehicles are dispatched and managed from the Emergency dispatch centre for assignments across Stockholm county.

The PAM unit uses the same communication system as the police, ambulance and fire brigade. The staff can access medical journals with the digital medical record system in Stockholm using 4G.

Statistics from 2020

With one vehicle in operation January to November 2020 there were 2,265 callouts to equally many men as women.

The patients are usually 20 to 34 years old. The oldes patient was 96 years and the youngest 4. 236 patients were under 18 years.

Approximately 206 consultations per month, which amounts to 6-7 per work session

  • more than 40 % could stay at home after assessment
  • a little more than one in four patients were transported to the psychiatric emergency clinic in Stockholm county
  • 17 % were transported to an addiction emergency clinic
  • 3.8 % were transported to child and adolescent psychiatry clinic
  • the ambulance took care of 2.7 % of the patients
  • patients are usually 20–34 years
  • the youngest was 4 years, the oldest 96 years.

December 2020: 321 callouts to 252 patients.

Funding

The PAM-unit is funded by Stockholm county council.

Background

PAM started as a project in 2015–a response to the need for mobile emergency psychiatric assessment outside the hospital area, as well as decreasing stigma. It became permanent part of the prehospital emergency services in 2017.

Visuals

The PAM-unit in a film showing a staged callout, courtesy of AISAB.

More information

Read the results from a survey about the patients’ experiences of the encounter with the PAM unit.

Read a follow up from the first year of the two-year long project.