Va. Issues Guidance on Hospital Patients

September 1, 2010

Virginia health officials are offering hospitals suggestions on managing patients.

State Health Commissioner Karen Remley announced the new
guidance on Wednesday to help hospitals develop policies and procedures for boarding admitted patients.

Boarding is the term used for keeping admitted patients in either the emergency department or some other location of the hospital while awaiting an inpatient bed.

Officials said the information will help hospitals better manage patients and promote improved care. They say it's important because federal health care reforms could mean more people making trips to the hospital.

Suggestions that hospitals should consider include: coordinating with local officials to ensure compliance on fire and building codes; identifying areas of the hospital where patients should not be boarded; and determining the maximum number of patients who may safely board in each area of the hospital.

Health officials also suggested that hospitals train staffs on boarding policies and optimize communication between emergency department staff and other units at the hospital.

The guidance was a collaboration among the health department, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association and the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians.

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