Thursday, October 19, 2006

ERs store patients in the hall

…At HA’s friendly, neighborhood hospital, there are plaques on the wall in the halls of the ER with numbers. This is where a bed can be parked—like a room number only way different.

…Laura Landro, in the WSJ (Oct 18, 2006), says in many hospitals patients are “boarded” in the halls of emergency rooms, sometimes for days, because there are no beds available in the regular hospital.

…This means getting undressed, using the bedpan…in the hall!

…This also means that people rush by and don’t notice if you’re still alive or not.

…HA has spent 18 hours in the ER on those disgusting hard beds several times, but was only in the hall for a couple of hours at one point.

…Out here in good old AZ, there was some regulation (maybe it was Federal) that you could have no more ER beds than regular beds. So people were put in the halls because those beds didn’t “count.” Some effed-up logic, HA can’t remember the details.

…Apparently the ER docs brainstormed recently about how to fix this garbage.

…One idea was to put the boarders up on the regular floors—in THEIR halls. This would make those nurses take on more patients, but would also encourage them to send people home and stick the boarders into those beds.

…One study showed 20% of boarders in the upstairs halls got a bed in an hour.

…Another hospital worked with General Motors to streamline procedures. (HA is not sure she would pick GM--isn’t it going under?--but she has often thought the military might shuffle people through more efficiently and might be able to help some of these ERs.)

…Some consultants even take hospital staffers to restaurants to show them how people are moved through lines and tables are turned over.

…Other hospitals send ER patients home with a health care worker assigned to come the next day.

…Still other hospitals staffs huddle three times a day to see who’s ready to leave.

…One hospital even sends flowers to people who were boarded.

…Come ON. A real bed and not a leather-covered brick with a sheet over it will be plenty!

…If someone is well enough to ooo and ahhh over some patronizing posies, they don’t even need a bed!

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