Does hospital occupancy impact discharge rates?

Link to article at PubMed

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Does hospital occupancy impact discharge rates?

Aust Health Rev. 2013 Sep;37(4):458-66

Authors: Harrison G, Zeitz K, Adams R, Mackay M

OBJECTIVE: To understand what impact hospital inpatient occupancy levels have on patient throughput by analysing one hospital's occupancy levels and the rate of patient discharge.
METHODS: A four-stage model was fit to hospital admission and separation data and used to analyse the per-capita separation rate according to the patient load and the impact of hospital over-census actions.
RESULTS: Per-capita separation rates are significantly higher on days when the hospital declares an over-census due to emergency department crowding. Per-capita separation rates are also higher or lower on days with 8-10% higher or lower patient loads, respectively, but the response is not nearly as strong as the response to an over-census declaration, and is limited to patients with an elapsed stay of 10 days or more. Within the medical division there is an increase in per-capita separation rates on over-census days, but no significant difference in per-capita release rates for different patient loads. Within the surgical division there is no significant difference in per-capita separation rates on over-census days compared with other days, but the patient load does make a significant difference.
CONCLUSION: Staff do discharge a greater proportion of long-stay patients when the hospital is experiencing high demand and a lower proportion when occupancy is low, but the reasons driving those changes remains unclear.

PMID: 23837997 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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