Overcrowding in Emergency Departments across the Country
Overcrowding in Emergency Departments
Emergency departments (ED’s) are considered a necessary component in the health care system. Many patients have access to this department 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. There has been an increasingly large volume of emergency room visits by both adult and pediatric patients up to 43% within the last 5 years. The overuse of the ED’s medical services across the nation is commonly referred to as “overcrowding”. One major cause of overcrowding is the misuse of the emergency room. Another cause is the increased volume of illness. The third cause of overcrowding is a shortage of ...view middle of the document...
The second cause of overcrowding is an increased volume of illness. As life expectancy increases so does the number geriatric patients in the ED. These patients often come in with a wide variety of illnesses such congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and sepsis. Due to the severity of their ailments, geriatric patients have an increasing demand on emergency services. A patient experiencing congestive heart failure will present shortness of breath, chest pain, and generalized edema. COPD often causes shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and “tripodding”. Sepsis has several causes and can be identified by fever, low blood pressure, and an altered level of conciseness. These symptoms alert the emergency room staff of the possible problem at hand, therefore requiring more medical attention, giving these patients a higher priority than others. Emergency Department overcrowding can have a
department patient waiting longer in triage. The limited number negative impact on the Emergency Department’s physicians and nurses. Most overcrowded Emergency Departments, nursing staffs are very busy, and they are often asked to take care of severe ill patient. Some of these patients are considered Intensive Care Unit patient, for they need one to one patient care. This means one nurse is assigned to take care of one patient.
The third factor linking to overcrowding is the inconsistency in patient flow. When a patient is admitted to the hospital’s unit, and there is a lack of available patient’s bed or staffing for that patient this becomes a problem for the Emergency Department. The nursing staff in ED is now taking care of this admitted patient, and maybe asked to take care of another very severe ill patient. This can be a very stress full situation for the nursing staff, and it can leave new emergency of beds also contributes to a...