Internal medicine patients admitted without COVID-19 during the outbreak

Link to article at PubMed

Int J Clin Pract. 2020 Aug 1:e13630. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13630. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The first case of COVID-19 in Israel was reported on February 21, 2020. Shaare Zedek (SZ), a 1000-bed tertiary care medical center in Jerusalem, Israel, cared for a significant number of these patients. While attention focused on COVID-19 patients, uninfected patients were admitted to decreasing numbers of available internal medicine (IM) beds as IM departments were converted to COVID-19 isolation wards. Due to the increase in COVID-19 patients, closure of IM wards, re-assignment of staff, and dynamic changes in available community placement options, we investigated the impact of the outbreak on IM patient not admitted for COVID-19.

METHODS: We reviewed IM admissions during March 15 - April 30, 2020 for patients without COVID-19. Characteristics assessed included number of admissions, age, length of stay, mortality rate, number of discharges, number discharged home, and functional status of the patients. Data was compared to the previous three years (2017 - 2019) during the same time period.

RESULTS: During March 15 - April 30, 2020 there were 409 patients admitted to IM compared to a mean of 557 over the previous three years. Fewer patients were admitted to the ED and the IM wards during the outbreak. There was no significant difference between the two groups with regards to gender, in-hospital mortality rate, number discharged, number discharged home, and patient functional level. Patients admitted during the outbreak to IM were younger (74.85 vs 76.86 years) and had a mean shorter hospital length of stay (5.12 vs 7.63 days) compared to the previous three years.

CONCLUSION: While the characteristics of patients admitted to IM during the outbreak were similar, hospital length of stay was significantly shorter. Internal management processes, as well as patient preferences may have contributed to this observation. An infectious disease outbreak may have a significant effect on uninfected admitted patients.

PMID:32738812 | DOI:10.1111/ijcp.13630

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