Appropriateness of bed usage for inpatients admitted as emergencies to internal medicine services.Health Bull (Edinb) 2001; 59(6):388-95HB
To establish the appropriateness of bed usage for acute care within the medical directorates of two district general hospitals using a validated assessment tool, the Emergency Admission Review (EAR). This tool assesses the appropriateness of day of care against strict criteria and allows classification of care as either acute or non-acute.
Prospectively, 200 medical emergency admissions, 100 in each of the hospitals, were selected. Following identification patients were assessed every two days during the first fortnight of admission or until discharge. Those patients staying longer than two weeks were then assessed weekly until conclusion of the audit period or discharge whichever was reached first.
The medical directorates of two District General Hospitals within one acute NHS trust.
All patients admitted as medical emergencies, who were 14 years or older and had a length of stay of 24 hours or more.
A total of 787 acute in-patient bed days were analysed in Hospital A of which 363 (46%) were deemed inappropriate for acute care. In Hospital B 810 bed days were analysed and 44% (363) were deemed inappropriate. In Hospital A the most common reason for bed-days not meeting the acute care criteria was short-term waiting, accounting for 60% (217 days) of the total bed days deemed non-acute. In Hospital B the most common reason for patients receiving non-acute care was that they were having active rehabilitation. This accounted for 29% (105 days) of the total number of non-acute care days. In Hospital B three patients accounted for 28% of the total occupied bed days.
The use of the EAR is a systematic and objective approach to the assessment of appropriateness of acute care. It applies strict criteria to determine the reason for a patient's continued hospital stay. From the results it is clear that a significant proportion of medical emergency admissions in both Hospital A and B remain in hospital for care that is deemed non-acute and therefore in theory could be performed in another setting. This information has significant potential in identifying the opportunities for streamlining services within hospitals to reduce short-term delays and also to inform the development of intermediate care services both within and outwith the acute hospital setting.