The current pressure on conventional inpatient care units represents a very serious problem for respiratory medicine departments. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of a new instrument - a short-stay respiratory unit - on the quality of care delivered by the respiratory medicine department of a tertiary care hospital. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The short-stay respiratory unit consisted of 4 conventional hospital beds managed by a pulmonologist. The beds were only used to treat patients diagnosed with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchial asthma, community-acquired pneumonia, or suspected lung cancer, and stays were intended to only last for up less than to 4 days. Analyzing a range of healthcare quality variables, we compared the quality of care delivered during the first 6 months the unit was in operation (October 2005 to March 2006) to that delivered in the same period 12 months earlier. RESULTS: The study included 147 patients admitted to the short-stay unit. The mean (SD) age of the patients was 64 (17) years and 79% were men. The mean length of stay was 3.3 (1.6) days - only 1.4% of patients stayed for longer than 4 days - and the readmission rate was 2.7%. There were no deaths. The existence of the short-stay respiratory unit led to a 30% decrease in the overall mean length of stay in the respiratory medicine department (11.8 [4.6] vs 8.3 [2.6] days; P<.001), and the readmission rate fell from 21% to 15% (P<.05). While there were no differences in mortality between the 2 periods, the complexity of diseases treated by the respiratory medicine department showed an increase of 9.2% (P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: A short-stay respiratory unit can improve the efficiency of care delivered by a respiratory medicine department by reducing both the mean duration of hospitalization and the readmission rate, without a reduction in the complexity of diseases treated or a need for additional resources.
|Journal||Archivos de Bronconeumologia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2008|
- Mean stay