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With an overflowing emergency department, Yale New Haven Hospital temporarily expands to become a parking lot

In response to unprecedented patient volumes and longer length of stay, Yale New Haven Hospital is temporarily expanding its emergency room to the parking lot.

Brandon wu

23:54, 09 Dec 2021

Contributing journalist


Ryan Chiao, senior photographer

Due to unprecedented patient numbers and longer length of stay, Yale New Haven Hospital is temporarily expanding its emergency room to the hospital parking lot.

With an influx of patients who have delayed hospital care over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic – often resulting in more serious health problems when they seek treatment – YNHH is facing a health crisis. boarding school. Some patients wait in the emergency department for up to a day before a bed opens, while others arrive, receive treatment, and leave – all before entering a patient’s room. . Yet, YNHH is committed not to refuse any patient requiring medical treatment, even if space is limited. The increased demand therefore prompted YNHH executives to temporarily transform the parking lot, especially the turnaround driveway outside the main entrance to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, into an extended care space. to patients.

“Our non-COVID-19 population has come back faster and sicker than before COVID-19,” said Michael Holmes, director of operations at Yale New Haven Hospital. “A lot of our patients have delayed care, so now that they’re back they’re sicker, have higher acuity and therefore stay longer, which creates capacity issues for us. “

The parking lot is one of five locations on the hospital campuses that is being temporarily converted into a patient care space. Other areas include outpatient clinical areas, such as indoor infusion and ambulatory areas. According to Holmes, three of the temporary York Street campus expansions and one St. Raphael campus expansion are located inside the hospital building. The parking lot is the only exterior extension of the hospital.

Holmes said the five expansions would ease overcrowding in the emergency department and allow the hospital to see and treat more patients. He explained that YNHH does not refuse any patient and will continue to provide medical treatment to patients even if space is limited. The transformation of the parking lot alone will give the hospital 35 additional bays. The hospital plans to complete the transformation of the lot by mid-January and estimates that it will be in use until June 1, 2022.

The hospital’s decision to increase emergency department capacity was also driven in part by an expected increase in COVID-19 and influenza-related cases in the coming months. According to Holmes, just like last year, the rate of viral transmission increases as the temperature drops and more people stay indoors. He also noted that the advent of the Omicron variant could also contribute to a higher number of cases this year.

Holmes said there are currently around 70 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at YNHH, which represents about 4.5% of the overall YNHH patient census. At the height of the pandemic in April, 450 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, which represented about 27% of the overall patient count. While YNHH does not currently anticipate a spike of a similar magnitude, Holmes said hospital leaders cannot be entirely sure about the future.

Vivek Parwani, medical director of the YNHH Adult Emergency Department, said the emergency department is currently overwhelmed by the number of patients it is seeing. Parwani explained that some patients wait in a hallway for more than a day to be placed in a hospital bed.

“Our emergency department is in crisis, we have 58 beds and frequently treat over 120 patients,” Parwani wrote in an email to News. “A large part of our care ends up being provided in the waiting room and in the hallways. Patients are assessed and released from the waiting room daily.

Parwani noted that the temporary expansions, which the state of Connecticut has approved for six months, will help ease the crisis. According to Parwani, the expansions represent huge multidisciplinary hospital and university efforts to decompress the emergency department.

Mary Ellen Lyon, an instructor and global health researcher who works in hospital emergency medicine, said the entire hospital system is “somewhat overwhelmed” as it is nationally. Lyon added that the current overcrowding is stressful for everyone as it impacts patient care and comfort.

Holmes said community members can help relieve hospital pressure and reduce the number of COVID-19 and flu-related hospitalizations by receiving their COVID-19 and flu shots, as well. as booster shots.

The Yale New Haven York Street Hospital campus is located at 20 York St.

Tags : covid pandemic
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