Access block and ED overcrowding
ABSTRACT Prospective and retrospective access block hospital intervention studies from 1998 to 2008 were reviewed to assess the evidence for interventions around access block and ED overcrowding, including over 220 documents reported in Medline and data extracted from The State of our Public Hospitals Reports. There is an estimated 20-30% increased mortality rate due to access block and ED overcrowding. The main causes are major increases in hospital admissions and ED presentations, with almost no increase in the capacity of hospitals to meet this demand. The rate of available beds in Australia reduced from 2.6 beds per 1000 (1998-1999) to 2.4 beds per 1000 (2002-2007) in 2002, and has remained steady at between 2.5-2.6 beds per 1000. In the same period, the number of ED visits increased over 77% from 3.8 million to 6.74 million. Similarly, the number of public hospital admissions increased at an average rate of 3.4% per year from 3.7 to 4.7 million. Compared with 1998-1999 rates, the number of available beds in 2006-2007 is thus similar (2.65 vs 2.6 beds per 1000), but the number of ED presentations has almost doubled. All patient groups are affected by access block. Access block interventions may temporarily reduce some of the symptoms of access block, but many measures are not sustainable. The root cause of the problem will remain unless hospital capacity is addressed in an integrated approach at both national and state levels.
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ABSTRACT: To measure the increase in volume and age-specific rates of presentations to public hospital emergency departments (EDs), as well as any changes in ED length of stay (LOS); and to describe trends in ED utilisation. Population-based retrospective analysis of Department of Health public hospital ED data for metropolitan Melbourne for 1999-00 to 2008-09. Presentation numbers; presentation rates per 1000 person-years; ED LOS. ED presentations increased from 550,662 in 1999-00 to 853,940 in 2008-09. This corresponded to a 32% rise in rate of presentation (95% CI, 29%-35%), an average annual increase of 3.6% (95% CI, 3.4%-3.8%) after adjustment for population changes. Almost 40% of all patients remained in the ED for ≥4 hours in 2008-09, with LOS increasing over time for patients who were more acutely unwell. The likelihood of presentation rose with increasing age, with people aged≥85 years being 3.9 times as likely to present as those aged 35-59 years (95% CI, 3.8-4.0). The volume of older people presenting more than doubled over the decade. They were more likely to arrive by emergency ambulance and were more acutely unwell than 35-59 year olds, with 75% having an LOS≥4 hours and 61% requiring admission in 2008-09. The rise in presentation numbers and presentation rates per 1000 person-years over 10 years was beyond that expected from demographic changes. Current models of emergency and primary care are failing to meet community needs at times of acute illness. Given these trends, the proposed 4-hour targets in 2012 may be unachievable unless there is significant redesign of the whole system.The Medical journal of Australia 02/2012; 196:128-32. DOI:10.5694/mja11.10955 · 3.79 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Delivery of care to people with advanced cancer in the emergency department (ED) is complicated by competing service demands, workloads and physical design constraints. We explored emergency clinicians' attitudes to the ED environment when caring for patients who present with advanced cancer, and how these attitudes are affected by access to palliative care services, palliative care education, staff type, ED experience and patient demographic, hospital type and region. We electronically surveyed clinicians from the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia, Australian College of Emergency Nursing and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine working in an Australian ED. Respondents were 444 doctors and 237 nurses. They reported overcrowding, noise, lack of time and privacy as barriers to care. Most (93.3%) agreed/strongly agreed that the dying patient should be allocated private space in ED. 73.6% (451) felt unable to provide a desired level of care to advanced cancer patients in ED. Clinician attitudes were affected by staff type, experience, ED demographic and hospital type, but not education in palliative care. ED environments place pressure on clinicians delivering care to people with advanced cancer. Integrating palliative care services in ED and redesigning EDs to better match its multifaceted functions should be considered.International Journal of Emergency Medicine 12/2015; 8(1). DOI:10.1186/s12245-015-0061-8
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ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine the distribution of length of stay (LOS) in acute psychiatric units.Method: Analysis of one year of LOS data from twelve acute psychiatric units in New South Wales, Australia.Main findings: LOS had a complex distribution, with a ‘head’ of discharges within a day, a ‘body’ of discharges that approximated an exponential distribution and a ‘tail’ made up of a small group of patients discharged after very long admissions. There were substantial differences between units in the proportions of discharges classified as being in the head and the tail of the LOS distribution. With regards to the traditional measures of central tendency, the median LOS was affected by the proportion of patients discharged within a day, and the mean LOS was strongly influenced by small numbers of very long stay patients.Conclusions: A graphic representation of logarithmically transformed LOS values might assist in understanding the LOS of individual acute psychiatric units. A modified median LOS, calculated after the removal of patients staying less than a day, was found to be a simple and reliable measure that can potentially provide a more meaningful measure of LOS than the mean or the median LOS.Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care 01/2012; 8(2):78-87. DOI:10.1017/S1742646411000227