Acute psychiatric assessments outside hospital by the PAM unit

The PAM units operate every day with the aim to handle acute psychiatric assessments outside the hospital as well as acute suicidal situations. The vehicles are dispatched from SOS Alarm for assignments all over Stockholm county. During 2021 there were 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. Using 4G, the staff can access medical journals with the digital medical record system in Stockholm.

Statistics for 2021

In 2021 the two vehicles attended to 3.963 callouts in total, of which the first shift did 1.825 callouts and the late shift 2.111. Per day, it makes approximately 5 consultations for the early shift and 5,8 for the late shift, which adds to 152 and 176 respectively per month.

The patients are usually 25 to 44 years old. In 2021, the oldest patient was 98 years and the youngest 7. 337 patients were under 18 years of age.

  • After assessment more than 30 % of the patients could stay at home
  • more than 1 of 5 were transported to the psychiatric emergency clinic in Stockholm county
  • 13 % were transported to an addiction emergency clinic
  • the ambulance took care of 4 % of the patients
  • the police handled 3 %
  • 3 % of the patients were transported to child and adolescent psychiatry.

Funding

The PAM-unit is funded by Stockholm county council.

Background

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

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.