Access blocking at Ghent University Hospital
This case is available at ECCH with reference 408-048-1.
In the summer of 2006, some conflicts arose between the emergency department (ED) and some of the internal nursing departments (INDs) of Ghent University Hospital. The ED staff did not understand why the CEO had communicated a message about the low occupancy rate of the beds in the hospital, because he had been confronted for some years with the phenomenon of access blocking in the ED. Furthermore, the ED staff had evidence of the fact that the access of patients from the ED to the INDs was being blocked even though there were free beds in these nursing departments. As a consequence, the ED regularly became overcrowded, which led to an unacceptable workload for the ED staff.
Therefore, the CEO and the hospital's chief of medicine invited Dr Paul De Meester - Professor of Health Care Management - to discuss the matter. Dr De Meester understood that this issue was not only an 'ED' problem, but a complex hospital-wide problem. Nevertheless, Dr De Meester was asked to come up with a solution. Fortunately, a lot of data had been gathered, which allowed Paul De Meester to make several well-founded recommendations.