Introduction: Delays in transfer to an in-patient bed of admitted patients boarded in the ED has been identified as one of the chief drivers of ED overcrowding. Our study aims to replicate findings from a previous study in identifying patient characteristics associated with increased boarding time, and the impact of increased boarding time on in-patient length of stay (IPLOS). Methods: We conducted a retrospective single-centre observational study during the period between January 1, 2015 December 31, 2015 at a very high volume community hospital (~ 75,000 ED visits/year). All patients admitted from the ED to Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, and Critical Care were identified. The mean time to in-patient bed (TTB), as well as patient-specific and institutional factors that were associated with prolonged boarding times ( 12 hours) were identified. Mean IP LOS was calculated for those with prolonged boarding times and compared to those without prolonged boarding times. Results: There were 8,096 unique admissions during the study period. Patients admitted to the Medicine service exhibited significantly higher boarding times than those admitted to other services, with a mean boarding time of 17.4 hrs, as compared to 4.2 hrs, 5.7 hrs, and 4.0 hrs for those admitted to Surgery, Critical Care and Pediatrics respectively. Within Medicine patients, there was a statistically significant greater odds of prolonged boarding time for patients who were older, had a greater comorbidity burden, and required more specialized in-patient care (i.e. an isolation bed or telemetry bed). Medicine patients with prolonged boarding times also experienced 0.7 days longer IP LOS, even after correcting for age and comorbidity (mean adjusted IP LOS 10.6 days versus 11.3 days). Conclusion: Within our study period, older, sicker patients and those patients requiring more resource-intensive in-patient care have the longest ED boarding times. These prolonged ‘boarding’ times are associated with significantly increased IP LOS.
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