Emergency department overcrowding: a survey among European neurotrauma centres

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Abstract

Background

ED overcrowding is an increasing problem worldwide that may negatively affect quality of care and patient outcomes. We aimed to study ED overcrowding across European centres.

Methods

Questionnaires on structure and process of care, including crowding, were distributed to 68 centres participating in a large European study on traumatic brain injury (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury).

Results

Of the 65 centres included in the analysis, 32 (49%) indicated that overcrowding was a frequent problem and 28 (43%) reported that patients were placed in hallways ‘multiple times a day’; 27 (41%) stated that multiple times a day, there was no bed available when a patient needed to be admitted. Ambulance diversion rarely occurred in the participating centres.

Conclusion

Similar to reports from other parts of the world, ED crowding appears to be a considerable problem in Europe. More research is needed to determine effective ways to reduce overcrowding.

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