Emergency Department Overcrowding in Turkey: Reasons, Facts and Solutions
Introduction: The purpose of this study was to determine the factors affecting the long waiting times of the patients in a university hospital.
Methods: This study included 3000 of the adults above 18 years and pediatric trauma patients under 18 years who applied to emergency department between February 2009 and April 2009. The examination period of the physician, length of stay, length of hospitalization, waiting times for hospitalization and follow up times in the emergency department were recorded. Moreover, the patients were divided into four groups according to the reasons for waiting.
Results: In our study, the time period between 4 pm-12 pm was determined as the busiest time for the applications. Average length of stay in the emergency department for 3000 patients was 146.7±160.2 minutes. The length of stay for the patients consulted was longer than the length of stay for the ones who were not consulted. Because of the fact that our hospital did not have appropriate bed capacity, 41.1% of the patients waited less than two hours, 13. 4% of the patients waited more than 8 hours. It was also found that the waiting times of the Group two patients (206,7±145,2 minutes) was longer than Group one (95,5±73,9 minutes) patients and the waiting times of Group three patients (470,7±364,7 minutes) was longer than Group one patients.
Conclusions: In conclusion, cooperation of the managers, relevant departments and a multidisciplinary approach are necessary to achieve the goals to reduce overcrowding in the emergency departments.
Keywords: bed capacity; crowding; emergency department; length of stay.
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