Bed management

Bed management

Bed management is the allocation and provision of beds, especially in a hospital where beds in specialist wards are a scarce resource. [citation|title=An exploratory study of bed management|authors=Ruth Boaden, Nathan Proudlove, Melanie Wilson|journal=Journal of Management in Medicine|year=1999|volume=13|issue=4|page=234-250|url=]

In the UK, acute hospital bed management is usually performed by a dedicated team and may form part of a larger process of Patient flow management.

Importance of bed management

Because hospital beds are economically scarce resources, there is naturally pressure to ensure high occupancy rates and therefore a minimal buffer of empty beds. However, because the volume of emergency admissions is unpredictable, hospitals with average occupancy levels above 85 per cent "can expect to have regular bed shortages and periodic bed crises."cite web |url= |title= Inpatient Admissions and Bed management in NHS acute hospitals |accessdate= 2008-05-20 |publisher= National Audit Office |pages=7 |date= 2000-02-21 |format= pdf]

Shortage of beds can result in cancellations of admissions for planned (elective) surgery, admission to inappropriate wards (medical vs surgical, male vs female etc), delay admitting emergency patients,cite web |url= |title= Bed management - Review of National Findings |accessdate= 2008-05-20 |publisher= Audit Commission |date= 2003-06-19 |pages= Section 2 - Patient Experience |format= html] and transfers of existing inpatients between wards, which "may add a day to a patients length of stay".cite journal |url= |author=Proudlove N C | Coauthors=Gordon K, Boaden R |title=Can good bed management solve the overcrowding in accident and emergency departments? |journal=Emerg Med J |volume=20 |pages=149-155 |year=2003 |format=pdf | Accessdate= 2008-05-20 |pmid=12642528 |doi=]

These can be politically sensitive issues in publicly funded heathcare systems. In the UK there has been concern over inaccurate and sometimes fraudulently manipulated waiting list statistics, [cite web |url= |title= The NHS: Has the Additional Funding Worked? |accessdate= 2008-05-20 |year= 2005 |month= April |publisher= Civitas |pages= 2-3 ] and claims that "the current A&E target is simply not achievable without the employment of dubious management tactics." [cite web |url= |title= Latest research statistically proves A&E waiting times are not being met |accessdate= 2008-05-20 |author= Mayhew, Les |coauthors= Smith, David |year= 2006 |month= December |work= Using queuing theory to analyse completion times in accident and emergency departments in the light of the Government 4-hour target |publisher= Cass Business School |ISBN= ISBN 978-1-905752-06-5 ]


See also

* In-hospital patient management

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