Ambulance Diversion Is Not A New Phenomenon

1438 Words Mar 3rd, 2015 6 Pages
As the ultimate safety net, Emergency Departments (EDs) are expected to care for any patient, at any time, under any circumstance. When EDs are overwhelmed in periods of surge, one solution is to redistribute the patients. A commonly used method of redistributing patients is ambulance diversion. Ambulance diversion is not a new phenomenon, and over time has become commonly employed by EDs to address the growing problem of ED overcrowding and saturation.1 As ED visits have increased through the years, ambulance diversion has evolved into standard practice in many health systems. Along with this, ambulance diversion has always been controversial whether it is actually beneficial or detrimental to the patient, EMS systems, and hospitals. In some circumstances, EDs and hospitals may occasionally be overwhelmed and may not be able to provide optimal patient care. Diversion may be viewed as a necessary mechanism to avoid the substandard situations in the ED represented by crowding, boarding, and hallway beds. It is used as a way to direct patients away from one’s hospital when waiting rooms are crowded and ED beds are full. However, in many circumstances, the patient is being directed to another facility that is just as busy and impacted but now further away, keeping patients in the back of ambulances longer, and thus keeping ambulances out of service for longer periods of time. Ambulances being out of service have been associated with delays in responses to the next emergency…
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