Paediatric hospitals in the US fail to implement the latest techniques to lessen overcrowding and improve patient safety, a new report has found.

The study, carried out by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, assessed how 39 children’s hospitals tackled the overcrowding situation in 2006 and found that most employed techniques that did not help to lower occupancy rates.

According to the study, the most common approach was to reduce the time a patient stays in the hospital, but the effect was minimal.

To reduce overcrowding, the report highlighted techniques such as scheduling elective admissions when there is known to be a lighter emergency volume or trying make greater use of weekends.

When hospital occupancy was above 95%, no more than 8% of the children’s hospitals observed by the study took steps to reduce admissions, while 58% reduced the patient’s length of stay.

The study’s authors remarked that elective admissions should be better scheduled to accommodate days or months with high patient volumes.

The authors also suggested that hospitals can create extended-care emergency department units, short-stay inpatient units, or offer extended hours at primary care practices to try to mitigate demand on children’s hospitals’ emergency departments and inpatient areas.