January 19, 2022
Emergency departments are not designed to manage patients that need protracted care because they have a continuous revolving door of patients who need to be seen, stabilized and either discharged or admitted, explained Dr. Bret Nicks. He is a professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, and a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians.
As people with chronic health issues continue to age and to live longer because of medical advances in care, pharmaceuticals and surgery, when they get sick their care requires more resources, Nicks said.
When that person is in the emergency department for an extended time because there are no available hospital beds, more work is required of the emergency team and it triggers a backlog of other patients seeking emergency care for heart attacks, stroke or appendicitis, for example.
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