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Hospital Death Rates Go Up on Weekends: Study

By    |   Thursday, 15 May 2014 04:27 PM

Hospital death rates increase on weekends, when staffing may be thinner, according to new Canadian research.
The findings, published online in the European Respiratory Journal, found patients hospitalized with COPD or pneumonia are more likely to die during a weekend hospital stay than those admitted during the week.
Previous studies have identified similar trends, perhaps because of a shortage of staff on weekends, but also because more severe patients may be more likely to admit themselves to a hospital on a Saturday or Sunday than those with milder symptoms, who may wait to speak to their doctor the following week.
This new study assessed whether patients who stayed in a hospital over the weekend, even if they were admitted earlier in the week, also experienced an increased risk of death.
Researchers from the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, analyzed medical records of more than 300,000 people over the age of 50 who were admitted to a hospital with either COPD or pneumonia between 1990 and 2007.
The results demonstrated that, regardless of when patients are admitted to hospital, if they stayed over the weekend the risk of death increased. During the weekday, the death rate was 80 per 10,000 per day. On a Friday, the risk of death increased by 5 percent, suggesting an additional 4 deaths per 10,000. On a Saturday and Sunday the risk increased by 7 percent, suggesting an additional 5.6 deaths per 10,000 for each weekend day.
The researchers attributed the increase in the risk of death to a reduced quality of care, or reduced access to high quality care at the weekend, an effect that appears to begin on Friday.
"Our study is the first to report an increase in mortality for patients staying in hospital over the weekend," said lead researcher Samy Suissa, M.D. "The findings of our study have huge implications for the way healthcare is delivered across the globe. It may be time to reconsider the weekend concept in the healthcare calendar to avert a significant number of likely preventable deaths."

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Patients admitted to hospitals for respiratory problems on the weekend are more likely to die than those who check in on weekdays, according to new Canadian research.
hospital, death, rates, weekend
Thursday, 15 May 2014 04:27 PM
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