Absconding or missing patient


When a patient absconds from the ED:

(patient - with or without mental health concerns):

  • Telephone the patient and ask him/her to come back for assessment / treatment.
  • Contact the patient’s next-of-kin.
  • Contact security to search the hospital area.
  • Report to the ED Shift Leader/CNM/Senior Nursing Management.
  • Report to EM Consultant/Registrar.
  • Report to the patients in-house speciality team if patient has been admitted/or had a consultation.
  • Consider contacting the Gardaí.
  • Follow up with the patients GP.
  • Complete an incident form.

If it is found that there is no need for immediate concern regarding this patient for their acute care needs:

  • The chart is placed in the designated slot in the Clinical Decision Unit by the reception staff.
  • The on-call EM Consultant for that shift reviews the case (at an appropriate time) and proceeds accordingly.


Content by SN Elaine O' Farrell, ADON Siobhán Scanlon, Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan 07/03/2014. Last review Dr ÍOS 12/10/15.