Emergency Department Overcrowding

What Is the Issue?

Emergency departments (EDs) across Canada are under strain and experiencing overcrowding, a situation in which the demand for health services in the ED exceeds the capacity of the ED, hospital, or community to deliver quality care in a reasonable amount of time. Recent evidence suggests that ED overcrowding is worsening in jurisdictions across Canada. This is in addition to an increasing trend of unexpected temporary ED closures and reductions of services across the country. 

Why Did CADTH Look at ED Overcrowding?

Canadian jurisdictions came to CADTH for objective, impartial, and trusted guidance about the trends, causes, and consequences of ED overcrowding, as well as which interventions are most effective for alleviating ED overcrowding in Canada.

What Did CADTH Do?

CADTH published 5 reports about the trends, causes, consequences, and evidence-informed solutions to ED overcrowding. Through an assessment of the evidence and expert-informed considerations, CADTH’s Health Technology Expert Review Panel also issued important guidance for decision- and policy-makers about which solutions should be considered to effectively alleviate ED overcrowding in Canada. Equity and ethical considerations were incorporated into each component of this project and within the 5 reports, which include: