The ability to effectively move patients within healthcare settings, otherwise known as throughput, is constantly evolving. In June 2021, Montefiore Health System was evaluating performance improvement initiatives. Peter Semczuk, DDS, MPH, senior vice president and executive director of the Moses and Wakefield Campuses, decided to open a Discharge Lounge that could both enhance patient experience and alleviate flow challenges at its Henry & Lucy Moses Emergency Department.
The Discharge Lounge is a calm setting where patients can go prior to leaving the hospital, and after leaving, be assisted by the very clinicians with whom they just bonded. The lounge is overseen by Elodia Mercier, BSN, MS, NEC, a data-focused RN with almost 40 years of experience at Montefiore, who endeavors to meet the challenges of a crowded ED and limited beds for admissions.
When the lounge first opened, the intent was to assist 10 patients per day, but that number quickly rose to 30-40. Shortly after opening, staff found that they were able to resolve patient and family concerns like logistics in arranging a taxi pick-up. This led to a partnership with Best Deal Car Service, a community taxi company, to help arrange transportation for their patients. Montefiore also found that making discharge phone calls not only helps encourage patient comfort and experience but also helps prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions.
Today, approximately one-third of adults leaving the Bronx hospital and ED are cared for in the Discharge Lounge, where staff strike up conversations or guests can watch television while enjoying complementary snacks. In the past 27 months, the lounge has received more than 678 patients per month. On average, patients stay for approximately 35 minutes. This time spent in the lounge equates to more than 10,800 bed hours saved, the equivalent of 62 additional beds.
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