Admit to the Hallway

Hallways on the floor, not to be confused with boarding (often in the hallways) in the ED:

From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

Here’s one way to ease overcrowding in the emergency room: Move patients to the hallway.

Some hospitals are giving it a try, putting patients in hallways when they’re ready to be admitted, the Associated Press reports. It sounds, well, strange, but advocates of the idea say that it’s dangerous to hold patients in an overcrowded ER.

Peter Viccellio, clinical director of the emergency department at Stony Brook University Medical Center in Stony Brook, N.Y., was involved with a study that found that the practice didn’t do any harm. And before the hospital went this route, on busy days “things would grind to a halt and people would wait to be seen,” he told the AP. Worse, infectious patients would wait in the ER hallways for isolation rooms to open up elsewhere.

Vitello explained that the first available rooms go to the sickest patients, and intensive-care patients never go to the hallways.

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