Clinicians’ Insights on Emergency Department Boarding: An Explanatory Mixed Methods Study Evaluating Patient Care and Clinician Well-Being

Dana E. Loke, Kelsey A. Green, Emily G. Wessling, Elizabeth T. Stulpin, Abra L. Fant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The aim of this study was to describe clinicians’ insights into the quality and safety of patient care delivered to emergency department (ED) boarding patients, as well as clinician safety and satisfaction related to ED boarding. Methods: This was a single-site, mixed methods sequential explanatory study. Quantitative data were obtained from a cross-sectional survey sent to ED attending physicians, resident physicians, advanced practice providers, and nurses. Semistructured focus group interviews with a subsample of participants sought to add depth to the interpretation of survey data and identify areas of improvement in boarding care. Chi-square and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used to evaluate for response differences between groups. Qualitative data were thematically coded and analyzed. Results: A total of 94 questionnaires were obtained for a response rate of 34.1%. Clinicians reported that boarding highly contributed to the perception of burnout. All groups reported high rates of perceived verbal and/or physical abuse from boarding patients (86.8% of nurses, 41.1% of providers, p = 0.0002). A total of 39 clinicians participated in focus groups regarding boarding care, and six themes were identified, including patient safety concerns, lack of knowledge/resources/training, and poor communication. Key themes identified as possible solutions to improve care included standardization of care, proactive planning, and culture change. Conclusion: Clinicians identified many concerns regarding patient safety and the quality of care delivered to boarding patients and identified several areas for improvement. Clinicians also felt that boarding negatively affected their satisfaction and safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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