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  1. Probus, Kimberly A. DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CEN
  2. Smith, Todd B. PhD, RN, NEA-BC


OBJECTIVE: The study objective was to determine the impact of specific measures to reduce the length of stay (LOS) in an emergency department (ED) in a critical access hospital (CAH).


BACKGROUND: Despite mandates to reduce bottlenecks by increasing throughput, many EDs are not successful. Strategies available to larger hospitals may not be feasible for resource-limited CAHs.


METHODS: Interventions were implemented to decrease ED LOS in a rural CAH. Through retrospective chart reviews from time periods both preimplementation and postimplementation, the LOS was determined and compared using 2-sample t tests.


RESULTS: Significant decreases were found between the groups in mean LOS times, as well as specific time intervals within the overall LOS time for nursing-centric activities and incidence of patients leaving prior to treatment completion.


CONCLUSIONS: A significant decrease in LOS resulted from numerous actions taken to improve patient flow. Results may be used to enhance patient flow and decrease LOS in other CAHs, improving quality and access to care.