Is Being Hospitalised at the Weekend a Danger to Your Health?
Hospitals are often criticised for providing a poorer service over weekends and during certain holidays. This is often due to reduced staffing levels and also more complicated cultural issues.
Headlines have even gone as far as to suggest you are in danger when visiting hospitals at certain times of the week or year.
While a complicated issue, how fair are these criticisms?
A new study recently published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine aimed to consider how patients discharged on a weekend compared to those discharged during the week:
This raises the question of whether weekend discharges may be inadequately prepared and thus at higher risk for adverse events post-discharge.
The researchers from the University of Alberta, Canada analysed records of some 7991 patients in order to compared death rates and readmission rates 30 days after discharge.
While a comparatively small study that only considered general patients at teaching hospitals in one area, the results may still surprise some critics:
patients discharged on weekends exhibited similar rates of death or readmission at 30 days compared to those discharged on weekdays
This was even found to be true amongst individuals who had been deemed at high risk for post-discharge events.
Overall the study was able to conclude that patients discharged at the weekend exhibited very similar outcomes as patients discharged on a weekday.