JOURNAL ARTICLE

Patients prefer boarding in inpatient hallways: correlation with the national emergency department overcrowding score

John R Richards, Gal Ozery, Mark Notash, Peter E Sokolove, Robert W Derlet, Edward A Panacek
Emergency Medicine International 2011, 2011: 840459
22235374
Objective. The boarding of patients in Emergency Department (ED) hallways when no inpatient beds are available is a major cause of ED crowding. One solution is to board admitted patients in an inpatient rather than ED hallway. We surveyed patients to determine their preference and correlated their responses to real-time National Emergency Department Overcrowding Score (NEDOCS). Methods. This was a survey of admitted patients in the ED of an urban university level I trauma center serving a community of 5 million about their personal preferences regarding boarding. Real-time NEDOCS was calculated at the time each survey was conducted. Results. 99 total surveys were completed during October 2010, 42 (42%) patients preferred to be boarded in an inpatient hallway, 33 (33%) preferred the ED hallway, and 24 (24%) had no preference. Mean (±SD) NEDOCS (range 0-200) was 136 ± 46 for patients preferring inpatient boarding, 112 ± 39 for ED boarding, and 119 ± 43 without preference. Male patients preferred inpatient hallway boarding significantly more than females. Preference for inpatient boarding was associated with a significantly higher NEDOCS. Conclusions. In this survey study, patients prefer inpatient hallway boarding when the hospital is at or above capacity. Males prefer inpatient hallway boarding more than females. The preference for inpatient hallway boarding increases as the ED becomes more crowded.

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