AHRQ Releases Standardized Hospital Bed Definitions

Hospital bed definitions that can provide uniform terminology for organizations tracking the availability of beds in the aftermath of a public health emergency or bioterrorist event have been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Developed by AHRQ-supported researchers at Denver Health in Colorado, the definitions will allow hospital systems and emergency responders seeking beds to speak the same language. Definitions currently in use vary among systems and even among hospitals.

These standardized definitions were vetted by a working group assembled by Denver Health with members from Federal and State governments, hospitals around the Nation, and the private sector.

The relationship between the different types of beds is shown below.

Figure 1. Licensed Hospital Beds

Staffed beds=Vacant/Available Beds + Occupied Beds; Physically Available Beds=Staffed + Unstaffed Beds

Beds also can be categorized according to the type of patient they serve:

For purposes of estimating institutional surge capability in dealing with patient disposition during a large mass casualty incident, the following bed availability estimates also may be reported:

Use of these standardized definitions and estimates of future bed availability will provide greater consistency among hospitals in reporting bed availability information.

Current as of September 2005

Internet Citation:

AHRQ Releases Standardized Hospital Bed Definitions to Aid Katrina Responders. September 2005. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/havbed/definitions.htm

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