Communication and bed reservation: Decreasing the length of stay for emergency department trauma patients

Published:August 07, 2018DOI:



      Prolonged emergency department (ED) length of stay (LOS) is associated with poorer clinical outcomes and patient experience. At our community hospital, trauma patients were experiencing extended ED LOS incommensurate with their clinical status. Our objective was to determine if operational modifications to patient flow would reduce the LOS for trauma patients.


      We conducted a retrospective chart review of admitted trauma patients from January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 to study two interventions. First, a communication intervention [INT1], which required the ED provider to directly notify the trauma service, was studied. Second, a bed intervention [INT2], which reserved two temporary beds for trauma patients, was added. The primary outcome was the average ED LOS change across three time periods: (1) Baseline data [BASE] collected from January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, (2) INT1 data collected from July 1, 2015 to October 18, 2015, and (3) INT2 data collected from October 19, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, two-sample t-tests, and multivariate linear regression.


      A total of 777 trauma patients were reviewed, with 151, 150 and 476 reviewed during BASE, INT1, and INT2 time periods, respectively. BASE LOS for trauma patients was 389 min. After INT1, LOS decreased by 74.35 min (±31.92; p < 0.0001). After INT2 was also implemented, LOS decreased by 164.56 min (±22.97; p < 0.0001) from BASE LOS.


      Direct communication with the trauma service by the ED provider and reservation of two temporary beds significantly decreased the LOS for trauma patients.


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