Background: It has been postulated that patients admitted on weekends or after office hours may experience delays in clinical management and consequently have longer length of stay (LOS). We investigated if day and time of admission is associated with LOS in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), a 1,400 bed acute care tertiary hospital serving the central and northern regions of Singapore.
Methods: This was a historical cohort study based on all admissions from TTSH from 1st September 2003 to 31st August 2004. Data was extracted from routinely available computerized hospital information systems for analysis by episode of care. LOS for each episode of care was log-transformed before analysis, and a multivariate linear regression model was used to study if sex, age group, type of admission, admission source, day of week admitted, admission on a public holiday or eve of public holiday, admission on a weekend and admission time were associated with an increased LOS.
Results: In the multivariate analysis, sex, age group, type of admission, source of admission, admission on the eve of public holiday and weekends and time of day admitted were independently and significantly associated with LOS. Patients admitted on Friday, Saturday or Sunday stayed on average 0.3 days longer than those admitted on weekdays, after adjusting for potential confounders; those admitted on the eve of public holidays, and those admitted in the afternoons and after office hours also had a longer LOS (differences of 0.71, 1.14 and 0.65 days respectively).
Conclusion: Cases admitted over a weekend, eve of holiday, in the afternoons, and after office hours, do have an increased LOS. Further research is needed to identify processes contributing to the above phenomenon.