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Yale New Haven Health Addresses Emergency Overcrowding With Additional Options For Care

ED Overcrowding

Friday, March 22, 2024

Yale New Haven Health, like many health care organizations across the country, has been seeing record-high numbers of patients, especially in its Emergency Departments.

At the same time, many of the patients we are caring for are sicker, so once they are admitted to the hospital, they are staying longer. That means there aren’t as many beds open on nursing (inpatient) units in the hospital. As a result:

  • Some patients who need to be admitted to the hospital have to board (stay) in the Emergency Department (ED) until a bed on an inpatient unit opens up. Some patients may board in the ED a day or more.
  • Because the EDs are overcrowded, some patients are staying in beds in the hallways.

We understand that the current situation is difficult for our patients and their family members, as well as our staff. Our hospitals have taken steps to meet the increased demand for care, now and in the future. These include:

  • Capacity Coordination Center: The Center constantly gathers real-time data about which hospital beds are open; the number of patients coming to our hospitals; Emergency Department activities; and other information. Experts use this information to manage the flow of patients through the hospitals.
  • Discharge lounges: Patients who have been discharged may leave their rooms and wait in the lounges for their rides. The discharge lounges are not generally located on nursing units, but they are staffed by healthcare professionals.
  • Home Hospital program: This program provides patients within the areas of Bridgeport and Yale New Haven hospitals with hospital-level care in their homes. This care includes nurse visits, physician visits (through telehealth), X-rays, blood draws, intravenous fluids and medications, medical equipment such as oxygen and more. The program currently accepts most insurance plans and traditional Medicare.
  • Yale New Haven Hospital ED Annex: This 35-bed unit is scheduled to open in the spring for patients with less-severe illnesses and injuries. It will open up beds for more seriously ill and injured patients in the main ED.

Our staff throughout the health system is committed to providing the highest level of care to everyone who needs it, and we appreciate your patience as we work through these significant overcrowding challenges. One way you can help is by determining whether you need to come to the Emergency Department or can receive care in a different setting. Please see the FAQ below for guidance.

What type of care do I need?

Should I go to the emergency room or urgent care?

If you are not experiencing a medical emergency, but still need urgent medical attention, visit one of our Walk-in or Urgent Care Centers.

Conditions that can be treated at a Walk-in or Urgent Care location include:

  • Allergies
  • Flu
  • Cold symptoms
  • Sinus infections
  • Stomach pain
  • Fevers
  • Minor cuts and burns
  • Minor rashes or skin conditions

When should I go to the emergency room?

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, dial 911. Life-threatening or serious symptoms that may require emergency care include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Suddenly experiencing confusion, speech problems or other neurological symptoms
  • Partial or full paralysis – unable to move your body or a part of your body
  • Major burns
  • Head injuries or trauma

Check our ED wait times and find an emergency department near you.

Where can I go for minor medical concerns?

Video Care OnDemand is another convenient option for patients seeking care for minor medical issues and services are often covered by insurance. These conditions can include:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Cough
  • Colds
  • Headache
  • Sinus infections
  • Joint pain
  • Earaches or pain

Schedule a visit today with a provider through Video Care OnDemand.

Where should I go for respiratory symptoms?

There are many respiratory illnesses circulating in our community right now, including COVID-19, RSV and flu. Common symptoms can include fever, body aches, cough, congestion, and runny nose. If you are experiencing symptoms, call your primary care provider for guidance. If you do not have a primary care provider, visit a Walk-in or Urgent Care location. Difficulty breathing, or the appearance of other sudden and severe symptoms warrants emergency care.

Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS), the largest and most comprehensive healthcare system in Connecticut, is recognized for advanced clinical care, quality, service, cost effectiveness and commitment to improving the health status of the communities it serves. YNHHS includes five hospitals – Bridgeport, Greenwich, Lawrence + Memorial, Westerly and Yale New Haven hospitals, several specialty networks and Northeast Medical Group, a non-profit medical foundation with several hundred community-based and hospital-employed physicians. YNHHS is affiliated with Yale University and Yale Medicine, the clinical practice of the Yale School of Medicine and the largest academic multi-specialty practice in New England. Yale New Haven Hospital is the primary teaching hospital of Yale School of Medicine.