Emergency Department Boarding Stories

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Died unnoticed

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"We are a large emergency department in an urban center. Due to tremendous  number of admitted patients and no bed/staffing upstairs, half of the department has been filled with boarding patients (patients who are admitted inpatient but staying in the ED). This means that majority of emergency patients are being seen in triage. Wait times are extraordinary. It's all falling on ED nurses to treat not only emergency patients but also inpatients and to get medicines to patients in triage when they are able, which is rare.

If her husband had not been present, she may have died unnoticed for hours in the waiting room.

A patient was being treated in the ED triage for abdominal pain. While in the waiting room her husband noted she became unresponsive and asked for help. She was taken to a trauma room to stabilize, but unfortunately she had suffered a cardiac arrest and ultimately died. If she had been taken to a treatment room immediately (as would have been the case in 2019) the monitor would have picked up an abnormal rhythm and she would have received immediate medical attention. The outcome may not have been different but it left her family feeling neglected and caused emotional trauma to many patients in the waiting room. Also if her husband had not been present she may have died unnoticed for hours in the waiting room."

MacGyver solutions

We are the level 1 trauma center for our area.

Killing our patients

53 bed ED with 50 patients boarding in the ED unable to go to the floor due to nursing shortage (onl...

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