The association between hallway boarding in internal wards, readmission and mortality rates: a comparative, retrospective analysis, following a policy change

Link to article at PubMed

Isr J Health Policy Res. 2021 Jan 27;10(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s13584-021-00443-3.


BACKGROUND: Emergency department overcrowding is associated with adverse clinical outcomes and poor patients and staff experience. Full capacity protocols enabling hallway boarding in internal wards are instituted to relieve emergency room overcrowding. The effect of hallway boarding on the clinical outcomes of all inpatients in the internal wards has not been studied. Early in 2016, a decision to enable hallway boarding in the internal wing in our medical center came into effect, comprising an abrupt change to the medical center's policy. The objective of this study is to examine the effect of hallway boarding on patients who were hospitalized in the internal wards.

METHODS: General linear regression analysis, based on administrative data about admissions of patients, from January 2013 through September 2019, is used to compare in-hospital mortality, 30-day readmission and 30-day mortality rates, of inpatients hospitalized in two internal departments in our medical center, before and after the policy change.

RESULTS: Eight thousand five hundred eighty-three patients and 11,962 patients were admitted to internal departments A and B, before and after the policy change, respectively. Adjusted in-hospital mortality was lower after the policy change (OR 0.76, [CI, 0.65 to 0.90]), 30-day readmission was mildly higher (OR, 1.18 [CI, 1.00 to 1.40]) and no change in 30-day mortality was observed (OR 1.16 [CI, 0.88 to 1.53]). The results emanate from corresponding changes in department A. No apparent change was observed in the length of hospital stay in department A, while a shorter length of stay was observed in department B.

CONCLUSION: Enabling inpatient boarding in our medical center, effectively, had increased bed capacity and generated an increase in the volume of patients. It was associated with lower in-hospital mortality and an increased 30-day readmission, without increasing 30-day mortality. Since this is an observational study, conducted in a single center, further research is necessary to confirm and qualify these observations.

PMID:33504368 | DOI:10.1186/s13584-021-00443-3

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