The demand for emergency care continues to grow every year. Because of this, many hospitals across the U.S. experience crowding in emergency departments. Patients wait longer ultimately resulting to a more stressful hospital environment. Prevent this from happening with the following practices.
Invest in additional medical equipment
Emergency departments are unpredictable. There will be slow, uneventful days as well as intense emergency situations. It is ideal to invest in additional medical equipment such as beds, stretchers, cardiac monitors, and stethoscopes to ensure emergency flow and facility. Having enough equipment prevents emergency crowding by ensuring the comfort and accommodation of all patients.
Add and expand roles of emergency staff
Maximize emergency room management by hiring more nurses and expanding roles of existing hospital staff. The National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests implementing a 4:1 patient-nurse ratio in emergency departments. Invest in training to maximize staff skills and make sure that there is adequate nurse and physician coverage, especially when patients begin to come in.
Prioritize and identify patient needs
One of the primary reasons behind emergency department crowding is the failure to prioritize patients according to their needs. Triage nurses must be skilled enough to perform an exact patient assessment, manage patients in the waiting room, and transport patients to appropriate treatment areas. By delegating patients properly, emergency departments can ensure a smooth patient flow.
Provide a different area for uninsured patients
Categorizing patients according to their healthcare status will significantly decrease emergency crowding since nurses already know which patients are insured and not. Provide a separate room for uninsured patients as their process may take longer considering the additional amount of paperwork. It is also important to dedicate appropriate hospital facilities and care for patients without insurance.
Emergency doctors, triage nurses, and other members of emergency departments must be skilled enough to provide appropriate patient care while preventing emergency crowding. Invest in the right equipment and determine patient needs to ensure a smooth emergency department flow.