The holiday season is over and flu season is in full swing. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say things may get worse before they get better due to an imperfect vaccine and exceptionally cold weather. And this means that hospitals from California to Maine are dealing with surging EDs—leading to challenges with everything from long wait times to overnight holds to inpatient admission delays.
In fact, some health systems are seeing a 16% increase in ED visits and almost a 40% increase in acuity [according to Brittany Lindsey, Director of Patient Flow, UAB Hospital, Birmingham, AL]. “We have setup our PACUs as additional ICUs, we are looking at staffing our EP cardiology unit as a flu unit, we are using our Post Recovery for our Heart and Vascular Center as a 23 hour bedded outpatient location, and certain floors of our women’s hospital have been converted to regular acute care for all genders,” according to Lindsey.