Quality of care of hospitalized internal medicine patients bedspaced to non-internal medicine inpatient units.
PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e106763
Authors: Liu J, Griesman J, Nisenbaum R, Bell CM
BACKGROUND: When the number of patients requiring hospital admission exceeds the number of available department-allotted beds, patients are often placed on a different specialty's inpatient ward, a practice known as "bedspacing". Whether bedspacing affects quality of patient care has not been previously studied.
METHODS: We reviewed consecutive general internal medicine (GIM) admissions for congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, from 2007 to 2011 and examined whether quality of care differs between bedspaced and nonbedspaced patients. We matched each bedspaced patient with a GIM ward patient admitted on the same call shift with the same diagnosis. The primary outcome was the ratio of the actual to the estimated length of stay (ELOS). General and disease specific measures for CHF, COPD, and pneumonia (e.g. fluid restriction) were evaluated, as well as 30-day Emergency Department (ED) and hospital readmissions.
RESULTS: Overall, 1639 consecutive admissions were reviewed, and 39 matched pairs for CHF, COPD and pneumonia were studied. Differences in both general and disease specific care measures were not detected between groups. For many disease-specific comparisons, ordering and adherence to quality of care indicators was low in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: We were unable to detect differences in quality of care between bedspaced and nonbedspaced patients. As high patient volumes and hospital overcrowding remains, bedspacing will likely continue. More research is required in order to determine if quality of care is compromised by this ongoing practice.
PMID: 25184480 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]