The ECT Service is a group of Psychiatry faculty that consults to the rest of the Psychiatry Department and has specialized expertise in evaluating for and administering electroconvulsive therapy. The ECT Service does not directly admit patients, but consults to all in-patient psychiatric units, including Child Psychiatry. The ECT Service also operates an ECT clinic for evaluation of new patients and medical management of present and former ECT patients. All ECT treatments at UIHC are done in an annex to the surgery area under the constant supervision of an ECT faculty member and of Anesthesia Department practitioners. UIHC also has a Medical/Psychiatry Unit. Thus, the ECT Service is able to evaluate and treat patients with complex medical and psychiatric comorbidity commensurate with a tertiary care hospital.
How can a patient be referred for evaluation and treatment?
In nearly all cases evaluation is arranged after referral from a patient’s primary psychiatrist, neurologist or other physician. In some cases, evaluation and/or treatments may be on an outpatient basis. Outpatient ECT treatment is an increasingly popular choice, but is only possible when necessary conditions for safety and supervision can be met. In other cases, direct admission or hospital-to-hospital transfer must be arranged. See Referral Information (below) for details.
Additionally, ECT treatment has been shown in preliminary studies to be very helpful for certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson's Disorder and status epilepticus, though such treatment at this time is "off-label."
For psychiatrists wishing to refer a patient:
For patients seeking ECT:
ECT is rarely the place to begin psychiatric treatment. We strongly urge patients to work with their local psychiatrist to treat their illness and, if necessary, arrive at the decision together to consider ECT treatment. However, patients may request an outpatient evaluation directly at the ECT clinic. ECT clinic evaluations are used to explore the history of symptoms and attempted treatments and to educate patients about the potential benefits and risk of ECT. Evaluation at the ECT clinic does not automatically lead to ECT treatment, but may be the starting point for either outpatient or in-patient ECT treatment, if it is deemed appropriate.
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