The impact of a temporary medical ward closure on emergency department and hospital service delivery outcomes

Journal article


Crilly, Julia, Keijzers, Gerben B., Krahn, Dirken, Steele, Michael Craig, Green, David and Freeman, Janeen. (2011) The impact of a temporary medical ward closure on emergency department and hospital service delivery outcomes. Quality Management in Health Care. 20(4), pp. 322 - 333. https://doi.org/10.1097/QMH.0b013e318231355a
AuthorsCrilly, Julia, Keijzers, Gerben B., Krahn, Dirken, Steele, Michael Craig, Green, David and Freeman, Janeen
Abstract

Objective: To describe the effect of a 3-week closure of a 28-bed medical ward on Emergency Department (ED) and hospital outcomes. Methods: This was a prospective comparative observational study of all ED attendances (visits; n = 11 383) made to a regional teaching hospital in Queensland, Australia, during a 9-week period (November 24, 2008–January 4, 2009). A 3-week period of ward closure was compared with equal time periods before and after. Hospital health information systems data were linked manually to describe and compare outcomes: median ED length of stay, access block, hospital length of stay, and in-hospital mortality. Results: Ward closure reduced hospital bed capacity by 5.9%. During ward closure there was a higher proportion of access block (38% vs 33% in both pre- and posttimes), longer wait time to see a doctor, and longer overall ED length of stay, compared with pre–ward closure time period. Conclusion: Temporarily closing a medical ward had a negative effect on some ED and hospital outcomes. When major refurbishments are required, alternative capacity measures need to be considered to minimize the impact on health service delivery and patient outcomes. Reducing elective surgery and opening replacement beds elsewhere in the hospital are possible solutions.

Keywordsaccess block; emergency department; health service accessibility; hospital occupancy; outcomes
Year2011
JournalQuality Management in Health Care
Journal citation20 (4), pp. 322 - 333
PublisherLippincott Williams & Wilkins Ltd.
ISSN1063-8628
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1097/QMH.0b013e318231355a
Page range322 - 333
Research GroupSchool of Allied Health
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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