BACKGROUND: Increased emergency department (ED) length of stay (LOS) has been associated with increased mortality in trauma patients. In 2010,we implemented a 24/7 open trauma bed protocol in our designated trauma intensive care units (TICUs) to facilitate rapid admission from the ED. This required maintenance of a daily bump list and timely transferring of patients out of the TICU.We hypothesized that ED LOS and mortality would decrease after implementation. METHODS: The following data from patients admitted directly from the ED to any ICU were retrospectively compared before (2009) and after (2011) the implementation of a trauma bed protocol at a Level I trauma center: age, sex, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, shock on admission (systolic blood pressure G 90 mm Hg), mechanism, injury severity scores (Injury Severity Score [ISS] and Abbreviated Injury Scale [AIS] score), ED LOS, ICU readmission rates, and mortality. RESULTS: Of the patients, 267 (17%) of 1,611 before and 262 (21%) of 1,266 (p < 0.01) after the protocol were admitted directly to the ICU, despite similar characteristics. ED LOS decreased from 4.2 ± 4.0 hours to 3.1 ± 2.1 hours (p < 0.01) in all patients as well as patients with an ISS of greater than 24 (3.1 ± 2.5 vs. 2.2 ± 1.6, p G 0.05) and a head AIS score of greater than 2 (4.2 ± 4.9 vs. 3.1 ± 2.0, p = 0.01). Mortality was unchanged for all patients (9% vs. 8%, p = 0.58) but trends toward improved mortality were found after protocol implementation inpatients with an ISS of greater than 24 (30% vs. 13%, p = 0.07) and in patients with a head AIS score of greater than 2 (12% vs. 6%, p = 0.08). A greater proportion of total patients were admitted to a designated TICU after implementation (83% vs. 93%, p G 0.01). ICU readmissions were unchanged (0.3% vs. 1.5%, p = 0.21). CONCLUSION: The implementation of a 24/7 open trauma bed protocol in the surgery ICU was associated with a decreased ED LOS and increased admissions to designated TICUs in all patients. Improved throughput was achieved without increases in ICU readmissions.
- Emergency department length of stay
- Emergency department throughput
- ICU triage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine