Crowding Emergency Departments

Crowding of Emergency Departments (ED) is a major problem that not only effects the patients seeking medical attention, but the hospital staff trying to provide effective and quality care. With so many factors contributing to the overcrowding issue, it is impossible for nurses to resolve the situation without assistance. “The intense and continuous work overload, combined with the lack of response from organizational management, can compromise the work process and the quality of the healthcare service provided to the population.” (George & Evridiki, 2015) However, nurses do have a unique role within the healthcare system where they can utilize different strategies and implement new policies to promote safety, improve patient outcomes, and …show more content…
“The Institute of Medicine describes the six dimensions of quality care as: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, efficiency, timeliness, and equity.” (George & Evridiki, 2015) Congested ED’s are associated with decreased patient satisfaction and undeniably poor quality of care. The excessive waiting room time may cause some people to become so impatient and frustrated that they leave without being examined. The patients that do stay experience consistent delays in treatment and care. Patients coming into a crowded ED may wait hours just to be taken into an exam room, and if they end up being admitted, they sit for another extended period of time to be transferred into a room within the hospital. The patient movement and available beds are a major issue, not only in the ED, but in the entire hospital. A patient can not be moved to a unit that is full, or one that does not have enough nurses to care for said patient. The admitted patient awaiting transfer remains in the ED’s bed and care, which impedes the flow of new patients and consumes valuable resources, including the ED nurse. Many people would jump to the conclusion that if the hospital just increased the department’s staff, then it would simply compensate for the increased amount of patients. However, the problem isn’t that simple. While inadequate staffing is a significant component …show more content…
In years prior, many of these chronic conditions went undiagnosed and untreated, which eventually resulted in the death of diseased individuals. Throughout the years we have developed new medications, tools, and interventions to manage these conditions which have allowed these patients to live longer, but this has not lessened the strain they are making on the healthcare system. This aging population is more likely to end up in the ED due to their increased vulnerability and susceptibility to infections, illnesses, accidents, and falls. The extensive care these individuals require means that nurses and other ED personal will have to dedicate more time and attention to these patients, which takes away from their other patients. Another issue that has increased the number of complex individuals visiting the ED is the execution of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law was implemented in 2010 with the intention of making healthcare more accessible and affordable for all Americans- insured or not. The individuals who were not able to access the healthcare system prior to the ACA had illnesses, diseases, or conditions that were not properly treated or cared for; and lack of medical attention only exacerbated these problems over time. Now, when these newly covered

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