Causes of Delayed Care in Emergency Departments

An emergency room in New Mexico is expected to provide quick care, especially in true emergency situations. However, there are many reports of situations where a person’s care was delayed in the emergency room, which led to serious complications or medical issues as a result. Understanding what is causing such delays is not always easy because of the many factors at play.

In some cases, a delay in treatment is caused by a department being understaffed, as noted by AMN Healthcare. Staffing issues are unfortunately common in hospitals. In the emergency room, this may be even more of an issue because the patient load is never steady. It can be difficult to forecast how many people will be needed on each shift from day to day. While estimates can be made, things can happen to greatly increase the number of patients, which results in serious staff shortages.

According to Advance ER, delays in the ER can also be caused by a lack of access to equipment. When a patient needs testing done, if the equipment to do the testing is not readily available, it can slow things down. In addition, the overall design of the ER can cause delays. It is not a first come first served situation. ERs treat people based on the severity of their medical situation, so a person who has been triaged as a minor case could end up waiting hours because those triaged as more severe are being seen first. Obviously, if the triage nurse makes a mistake or misses a sign of something more serious, this could lead to further issues. 

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