Intended for healthcare professionals


Length of hospital stay and subsequent emergency readmission

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 11 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:371

Reduction of length of stay is one of the 10 high impact changes suggested by the NHS Modernisation Agency.w1 Reducing length of stay lowers the cost of care per patient and allows for increased bed occupancy, but the effect on emergency readmission rates is equivocal.w2 w3 We examined hospital episode statistics to investigate the association of inpatient length of stay for elective surgery with subsequent emergency readmission.

The bottom line

  • The risk of readmission rises with increasing length of stay

We looked at all records for inpatients undergoing elective surgery (determined by healthcare resource group) who were discharged alive and readmitted as emergencies within 28 days of discharge. Emergency transfers between hospitals were not …

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