Emergency Department Overcrowding And The Full Capacity Protocol Cross Over Study: What Patients Who Have Experienced Both Think About Being An Extra Patient In The Emergency Department Or On A Ward.

Hospital overcrowding is evidenced by Emergency Department (ED) overcrowding. The Full Capacity Protocol (FCP) is activated to move patients to temporary extra beds placed in the inpatient wards. This research aims to establish patient preferences when waiting for a ward bed in an Irish Hospital. The FCP in Beaumont Hospital was updated in the context of national guidelines. Patients’ attitudes towards boarding in the ED as opposed to being in extra beds on the wards were assessed using a questionnaire based structured interview. Ninety nine patients took part in the study. Eighty three patients (83.83%) preferred being an additional patient on the ward, 12 (12.12%) had no preference and four (4.04%) preferred being boarded in the ED. Moving patients from the ED into extra beds on the wards creates space, facilitating safer care delivery. The vast majority of patients who have experienced both, prefer being boarded in the ward rather than in the ED.