Prevalence of crowding, boarding and staffing levels in Swedish emergency departments - A National Cross Sectional Study

Jens Wretborn, Joakim Henricson, Ulf Ekelund, Daniel Björk Wilhelms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Background: Emergency Department (ED) crowding occurs when demand for care exceeds the available resources. Crowding has been associated with decreased quality of care and increased mortality, but the prevalence on a national level is unknown in most countries. Method: We performed a national, cross-sectional study on staffing levels, staff workload, occupancy rate and patients waiting for an in-hospital bed (boarding) at five time points during 24 h in Swedish EDs. Results: Complete data were collected from 37 (51% of all) EDs in Sweden. High occupancy rate indicated crowding at 12 hospitals (37.5%) at 31 out of 170 (18.2%) time points. Mean workload (measured on a scale from 1, no workload to 6, very high workload) was moderate at 2.65 (±1.25). Boarding was more prevalent in academic EDs than rural EDs (median 3 vs 0). There were an average of 2.6, 4.6 and 3.2 patients per registered nurse, enrolled nurse and physician, respectively. Conclusion: ED crowding based on occupancy rate was prevalent on a national level in Sweden and comparable with international data. Staff workload, boarding and patient to staff ratios were generally lower than previously described.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun 18

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Anesthesiology and Intensive Care

Keywords

  • Boarding
  • Crowding
  • Emergency department

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