Crowded and dysfunctional emergency departments are a direct result of crowded hospitals.
OTTAWA, Nov. 30,
Crowded and dysfunctional emergency departments are a direct result of crowded hospitals. They are rarely a result of the processes of care in the Emergency Department (ED).
The inability to transfer admitted patients to hospital ward or intensive care beds leads to congested Emergency Departments. Prolonged occupation of ED stretchers by admitted patients waiting for beds leads to an inability to provide newly arriving patients needing stretchers a place to be assessed and receive care, and creates delays in offload of ambulances. Research has convincingly shown that the longer an admitted patient waits in the emergency department, the greater the risk of medical complications including death for patients and increased costs to the health care system. This problem of ED crowding will only worsen with time as the baby boomer generation ages and enters their years of peak need of emergency services.
Measures of the time hospitals take to transfer admitted patients from the ED to in-patient units is a key system performance metric. In a 2013, position statement, CAEP called for a median wait time from registration to transfer to an inpatient bed of eight hours with a 90th percentile of twelve hours. This report from CIHI shows those targets are nowhere in sight for the majority of the country and are in fact, receding.
This report also shows why measurement and reporting of wait times and ED performance is critical for transparency and accountability in the health system yet there are still many jurisdictions where data is not being reported. Comparison of regional differences will be significantly more effective with a complete data set. This will drive innovation, conversation and thus lead to improvements in health systems across Canada. Therefore, CAEP calls for all Canadian provinces and territories to report their ED data to CIHI.
CAEP Position Statement: Emergency department overcrowding and access block.http://caep.ca/sites/caep.ca/files/caep/PositionStatments/cjem_2013_overcrowding_and_access_block.pdf
SOURCE Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
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