When a patient experiences delayed access to an inpatient bed, those delays can significantly impact emergency department boarding (defined as occupying an emergency department bed while waiting for movement to an inpatient bed) and overload, which has been associated with myriad of concerning patient safety issues. These delays can also include patients waiting longer for inpatient beds following procedures or surgery as well as stepdown transfers.
Over the years, to address these and other patient flow issues and capacity constraints, hospitals have been experimenting and learning from the use of Discharge Lounges or Discharge Hospitality Centers (DHCs), which allow discharged patients to vacate their inpatient room while they wait elsewhere for final discharge departure. While not necessarily an option for every hospital, this concept is thought to be effective in opening access to inpatient beds, despite still limited data around its usage.
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