Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Objective: Standardization of hospital emergency units is a major goal in developed countries to decrease the duration of patients stay in these units. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the prevalence of long-term staying in an emergency ward.
Methods: In the present 2-month cross-sectional study, patients referring to the emergency ward of Imam Hossein hospital were assessed. The patients’ demographic data, including age, the presenting symptoms and signs, reasons for delays, and the final outcome in relation to the location of hospitalization and discharge information were recorded. Data were reported as frequencies and percentages. The results were reported as means and standard deviations using SPSS version 20.
Results: Of 10087 patients admitted into the emergency ward during a 2-month period, 75 patients (0.7%) needed to stay and wait for more than 24 hours. The mean ± standard deviation of the patients’ ages was 62.5 ± 20.2 years, with 60% of the patients being over 60 years of age. The most common reason for overcrowding in the emergency ward was a lack of empty beds, with the need for ICU beds as the most important reason for bed deficiency in 59% of the cases. Nervous system problems were the most common reasons for referring to the emergency unit (41%) in patients under study. Finally, 81% of the patients were hospitalized, 10% died, 7% were discharged based on personal request and 1.3% were transferred to another hospital.
Conclusion: The prevalence of patients staying and waiting in the emergency ward for more than 24 hours was 0.7%. Lack of empty ICU beds was the most important reason for such delays; however, paraclinical problems had no role in these delays which were associated with the death of 10% of patients.


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