Is Chronic Overcrowding a Problem for Your Emergency Department?
Working Towards Seamless System of Care
Overcrowding and boarding in emergency rooms is a nationwide epidemic, slowing throughput to a crawl, jeopardizing safety and quality, reducing patient satisfaction and increasing unreimbursed hospital admissions.
According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, more than 50% of surveyed urban and teaching hospitals had EDs that were at or over capacity.¹
Your hospital may be facing many of these challenges:
- Excessive length of stay (LOS)
- Improper ED use
- Costly readmissions
- Exhausted diagnostic related group (DRG) days
- Bed shortages
- Skewed mortality rates
- Challenged care coordination
- Unmet patient expectations
Hospitals are changing their care coordination paradigms by collaborating with post-acute providers to create a seamless system of care for patients with complex needs. This includes the sickest 5% of patients, responsible for nearly half of all US healthcare expenses.²
Improving Quality of Life
Improving throughput and reducing re-hospitalizations decreases the average LOS for your sickest patients, lowers unreimbursed hospital admissions and keeps your beds turning. Partnering with a hospice helps you achieve those goals because two of hospice’s four levels of care—continuous care and inpatient care—apply to the more acutely symptomatic patient.
Not every re-hospitalized patient is hospice appropriate, but hospice admissions nurses work with your staff, the patient and family to determine the best possible level of care given your patient’s disease and current critical needs. Moving a patient with immediate needs to an intensive hospice care situation rather than an ICU may alleviate suffering and improve quality of life.
Hospice, with expanded alternatives such as inpatient units or continuous home care for transitioning end-of-life patients, may better serve your ED while allowing patients and families to regard your facility as efficient and more responsive to their needs.
¹American Hospital Association “Taking the Pulse: The State of America’s Hospitals.” Results of AHA Survey of Hospital Leaders, March/April 2010- May 24, 2010.
²Cohen SB and Yu W. “The Concentration and Persistence in the Level of Health Expenditures Over Time: Estimates for the U.S. population 2008-2009.” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, January 2012.