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Bed wait times for emergency department down to 18.4 hours

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bed waiting times for emergency department patients at King Edward II Memorial Hospital have fallen but still remain at more than 18 hours on average, new figures show.

In the fortnight beginning July 17, waiting times peaked at an average of 32.8 hours on July 24.

The average waiting time for the fortnight stood at 18.4 hours.

This is a drop from the 26.6 hours average delays recorded in the previous fortnight.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board has said a lack of resources in community care was causing bed-blocking.

A BHB spokeswoman noted improvements.

She said: “The daily average time for the two weeks between arrival and triage dropped to 14 minutes compared to 16 minutes in the two weeks prior.

“The time between arrival and seeing an ED doctor was 56 minutes, down from 59 minutes in the two weeks prior.

“The total length of time in the ED for all patients remained at about the same — three hours and 21 minutes.

“Although the total number of admissions over the two-week period rose slightly from 169 to 182, the daily average time for patients in the ED to be transferred to an inpatient unit dropped almost 30 per cent, or nearly 8 hours, to 18 hours and 42 minutes compared to 26 hours and 39 minutes in the prior period.

“The range of average daily waits for an inpatient bed — shortest to longest — was between four and 32 hours in this period, significantly less than the previous period when the range was between 14 and 43 hours.

“The changes in wait times for an inpatient bed reflects variation in the complexity and vulnerability of the patient population waiting for discharge at any one time.”

The spokeswoman said that delays in getting patients to leave their hospital beds was a problem overseas as well.

She said: “Rises in the number of delayed discharges in hospitals are experienced in many other countries.

“In the UK this figure rose over 57 per cent between December 2020 and December 2022.

“The causes of the delays are also very similar, including the need for community or home-support services and nursing-home placements.

“BHB brings ward nurses to the emergency department when there are increasing numbers of patients waiting for an acute care bed. Doctors, including hospitalists and geriatricians, visit to ensure patients get medications, tests or treatments that may be required.

“However, the goal is always to move them as soon as a bed is available to free up emergency beds and as it is better for the comfort and dignity of patients.

“BHB continues to work with local agencies, nursing homes, families and government to try and facilitate a faster discharge process for these patients.

“BHB also reminds families that picking up your loved one from hospital by 11am on their day of discharge can greatly help create capacity for people waiting in ED.”

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Published August 10, 2023 at 7:53 am (Updated August 10, 2023 at 8:09 am)

Bed wait times for emergency department down to 18.4 hours

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