Use of acute care hospitals by long-stay patients: who, how much, and why?

Can J Aging. 2005 Spring;24 Suppl 1:97-106. doi: 10.1353/cja.2005.0044.


The effects of long-term hospitalizations can be severe, especially among older adults. In Manitoba, between fiscal years 1991/1992 and 1999/2000, 40 per cent of acute care hospital days were used by the 5 per cent of patients who had long stays, defined as stays of more than 30 days. These proportions were remarkably stable, despite major changes in the bed supply. Approximately two-thirds of long-stay patients were aged 75 or older. Medical record review for a small sample of long-stay medical patients aged 75 or older revealed that 42 per cent of the days spent in hospital were spent either awaiting transfer to another level of care (home care, nursing home, or chronic care), or were due to in-hospital factors, such as awaiting consults, tests, or treatments. Hospital information systems and early discharge planning may help to alleviate lengthy discharge delays and result in better care for these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / therapy*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Manitoba