ER Holding Due To No Beds

Specialties Emergency

Updated:   Published

Specializes in EMT since 92, Paramedic since 97, RN and PHRN 2021.


As a new nurse and previous medic who is used to dropping patients off in the ER after a 15-30 minute transport time, as an ER RN I’m seeing patients that I am treating in the ER on day shift, and when I come back the next morning the same patients are still in the ER.

When I asked the overnight RN why they tell me they are told there are no beds upstairs available. Is this common for current day and age of Covid to have to hold patients in the ER?

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.

Yep. 20+ hour waits in the ER just to be seen, patients being held in PACU for days because there's no beds for them to go to (and that's even with cancelling every surgery for patients who need beds unless it's life sustaining), PACU is prepping to be converted into an ICU because the ICU is full and every hospital in the county is on critical care divert and ER divert. And the ER takes a hit as well. With no end in sight

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care.

Hospitals I've worked at often had ER boarders for long periods of time, even before Covid.

Specializes in ER.

Right now, we have 18 holding in ER, longest wait for admit is 42 hours.

It's been about the same for the last month or so.

Specializes in SRNA.

Last week we had 25 admit holds which included 2 ICUs and 1 PCU. It's a 34 bed ER. Wait times pushing 6-10hrs.

Holy cow!! I'm curious... are you all in rural or urban settings? Does that even make a difference?

Specializes in SRNA.

Urban with 3 other hospitals within a 15-minute radius. But the volume is what's killing us and everyone has left or in the process of leaving to do travel nursing...

3 minutes ago, 2BS Nurse said:

Holy cow!! I'm curious... are you all in rural or urban settings? Does that even make a difference?


Specializes in Corrections, Surgical.

Last assignment I was at 3 months ago people sometimes waited in the ER holding for 2-4 days. It wasn't because there aren't any beds, the problem is there wasn't enough nurses and CNA's. Often times hospitals are not truly out of beds. Right now the staff is stretched thin.

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

I worked in the ER for 7 years - before Covid we were holding patients (sometimes all the ER rooms were full and we had nowhere to place ER patients). Now it’s worse of course. I moved from the ER to pre-op/PACU nursing and we are now holding patients there as well. Not to the point the ER is being but enough that we are working our day shifts and our on call team (which is often the team working that day) working all night as well to take care of hold patients ??‍♀️

It depends. Some hospitals were like that pre-covid if they are a big name. Now? Everyone is having that because nurses are quitting and traveling

Yep, this is common at the hospital that I work for. We have ER holding beds and sometimes it's a few hours to over 24 hour holds in ER before getting a bed. 

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