Emergency Overcrowding Impact on the Quality of Care of Patients Presenting with Acute Stroke
Introduction: Emergency overcrowding is defined as when the amount of care required for patients overcomes the available amount. This can cause delays in delivering critical care in situations like stroke. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the possible impact of emergency department (ED) crowding on the quality of care for acute stroke patients. Methods: In this cross-sectional prospective study, all patients with symptoms of acute stroke presenting to the ED of educational hospitals were enrolled. All patients were assessed and examined by the emergency medicine (EM) residents on shift and a questionnaire was filled out for them. The amount of time that passed from the first triage to performing the required interventions and delivering health services were recorded by the triage nurse. ED crowding was measured by the occupancy rate. Then, the correlation between all of the variables and ED crowding level were calculated. Results: The average daily bed occupancy rate was 184.9 ± 54.3%. The median time passed from the first triage to performing the interventions were as follows: the first EM resident visit after 34 min, the first neurologic visit after 138 min, head CT after 134 min, ECG after 104 min and ASA administration after 210 min. There was no statistically significant relationship between the ED occupancy rate and the time elapsed before different required health services in the management of stroke patients either throughout an entire day or during each 8-hour interval (p > 0.05). Conclusion: In the current study, the ED occupancy rate was not significantly correlated with the time frame associated with management of admitted acute stroke patients.
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