ICU Bed Availability: Does It Make a Difference?

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Nationwide, the volume of ICU admissions from the ED has increased significantly over recent years (by 50% from 2001 to 2009). When demand exceeds bed availability, complex decisions regarding ICU must be made. Does bed availability affect triage decisions? If many beds are available, patients who are too ill or too well to benefit from the ICU may be admitted. Conversely, if too few beds are available, ICU admission may be denied to patients who may benefit. In prior studies, ICU denial has been associated with increased hospital mortality.

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