Research Article

Inpatients in an accident unit.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 31 January 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:268
  1. P G Stableforth


    A one-year prospective study was undertaken in the 79-bed accident unit of the Bristol Royal Infirmary to define reasons for continuing inpatient care. This showed that, of a consecutive series of 466 patients staying in hospital for over two weeks, 35% lengthened their stay beyond that needed for acute nursing or continued medical care. A combination of factors usually led to total social dependence, the major problem being the absence of a caring relative. Other factors included pre-existing locomotor disorder or mental infirmity, unmanageable incontinence of urine after catheterisation, and institutional disorientation. If the pattern of management of elderly patients after injury is not changed and beds are to be kept available for the newly injured the unit will need about 50 new long-stay beds each year.