Your ER policy on giving rides home - page 5

I'll start off with a story that is mostly rant, but does have a question at the end of it. Recently our ER treated a 30-something pt who fell at home around 8am (per her account). Arrived at the... Read More

  1. by   nivigeorge
    Quick question everyone who works at the ER. How do you help patients when the bus or taxi is not in service when the patient is discharged? Any other things you guys do other than giving a ride for the patient? What would you do if there was no waiting area for the ER?
  2. by   JKL33
    Quote from nivigeorge
    Quick question everyone who works at the ER. How do you help patients when the bus or taxi is not in service when the patient is discharged? Any other things you guys do other than giving a ride for the patient? What would you do if there was no waiting area for the ER?

    Curious how the waiting area fits into this - discharged patients can't loiter in the waiting area anyway.
    Last edit by JKL33 on Feb 27
  3. by   nivigeorge
    Is that rule that they aren't allowed to wait in that area until they have a ride? I'm not sure about that exactly. So what would you do with patients who say they don't have a ride at 2 in the morning when there is no service available to take them home? A local hospital near me is having this problem. They are just discharging the patient and letting them stay there until they can find a ride for them in the morning. But since they are still at the hospital wouldn't it be the staff's responsibility to look after the discharged patient? Very interested on this topic.
  4. by   JKL33
    Quote from nivigeorge
    Is that rule that they aren't allowed to wait in that area until they have a ride? I'm not sure about that exactly. So what would you do with patients who say they don't have a ride at 2 in the morning when there is no service available to take them home? A local hospital near me is having this problem. They are just discharging the patient and letting them stay there until they can find a ride for them in the morning. But since they are still at the hospital wouldn't it be the staff's responsibility to look after the discharged patient? Very interested on this topic.
    Every hospital I've known any details about has a method of using reason/being reasonable about this on an case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, one may not loiter on the premises; this is not a federal law, it is a policy of many, many businesses, not just hospitals. But the general answer to your question, is no, absolutely not - we are not responsible for "looking after" individuals who are not patients, aside from our EMTALA obligations. There are times that hospitals try to help beyond that, despite not having the obligation or the budget to do so on a large scale.

    It sounds like you have a particular situation in mind which will have to be addressed with the ED in question.
  5. by   Kuriin
    Our hospital does not provide transportation (taxi vouchers) unless they legitimately need them. A frequent flyer coming in every day for the same reason will NEVER get a taxi voucher...neither will a homeless person unless they have a long distance to go.

    We also do not provide opioids to patients unless we know for a fact that the patient has a means to get back to where they belong.
  6. by   nivigeorge
    Thanks for responding to my questions! How do the social workers at your hospital help you with an issue like this? Do they help patients find transportation or do the nurses usually take care of the issue? The hospital in my town use an early out fund to help patients pay for a taxi, or even a medicar and then they keep track of patients who have already use the early out fund and lets the patient know this is a one time help. Does anyone else have a similar process at their hospitals?
  7. by   Euro_Sepsis
    Our state medicaid plans have a transportation benefit, so it's sometimes pretty easy to actually get them a ride. BUT, they'll only transport to the current mailing address listed in their plan and won't dispatch unless a medical professional is the one actually calling. So it's still on us to an extent.
  8. by   rhkenji
    I hate this!

    2 nights ago, I had a patient come in via EMS. She demanded that they be discharged as soon as she got into an ER gurney. The doctor discharged the patient right away and she requested for a ride home. "I came via ambulance, WE need a ride home (she came with her sister)". I did my best to find her a ride as she was 50+ year old. Normally, I just say NO, which is 99% what the house supervisor would say. But, trying to do the extra mile, I called, I got yelled at but was able to get her some bus tokens.

    I offered what was available at the time. They just looked at me angry, "This is unacceptable!". They then was able to pop a phone out and was able to get somebody to pick them up.

    I will just say no next time.
  9. by   Bri_guy_bri
    If they can't have friends/family pick them up, we try and find out if they are eligible for a Medicaid taxi. When they are not eligible for that, we can escalate to house supervisors to possibly get cab fare for the patient.

close