Introduction: While boarding of patients in the emergency department (ED) has been well documented and is carefully monitored, the time spent in emergency beds by patients waiting for Adult Protection (AP) placement is often relatively unnoticed, as they are not flagged as ‘admitted’. These patients have no emergency needs, yet consume considerable ED resources, often in excess of patients requiring emergency care. Staff familiarity with this issue may also bias them to premature diagnostic closure of patients as ‘placement problems’, risking misdiagnosis of active medical conditions. An observational study to retrospectively quantify the time spent in the ED by patients referred to AP services for urgent placement from the ED. Methods: A three-year audit of ED social work records of patients referred for AP. Results: For the period of October 1 2015-September 30, 2018, the ED social work service kept records of patients referred for AP from the ED. During this period, a total of 142 patients were referred to AP (40, 50, and 52 in each year respectively). There was an increase of 10 patients between 2015/16 and 2016/17 and two patients from 2016/17 to 2017/18. The overall length of stay for this subset of ED patients during this three-year period was alarmingly high, with an average length of stay of four days per patient (range 2.7 hours-18.5 days) compared to an average of all patients of 4.9 hours and admitted patients of 13.6 hours. Conclusion: Patients in the ED who are referred to AP services consume considerable ED resources, often requiring complete medical work-up, capacity assessments and close monitoring by multiple emergency personnel. This has been reported to cause considerable stress and friction between staff and consulting services. Furthermore, these patients are poorly served in a hectic, brightly lit, and noisy environment. The impact is often not fully appreciated due to ineffective capture by patient tracking systems.