In-depth analysis of delays to patient discharge: a metropolitan teaching hospital experience

Clin Med (Lond). 2012 Aug;12(4):320-3. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.12-4-320.


Delayed patient discharge will likely exacerbate bed shortages. This study prospectively determined the frequency, causes and potential cost implications of delays for 83 consecutive patients, who were inpatients for a total of 888 days. 65% of patients experienced delay whilst awaiting a service. 48% of patients experienced delays that extended their discharge date. Discharge delays accounted for 21% of the cohort's inpatient stay, at an estimated cost of 565 sterling pounds per patient; 77% of these hold-ups resulted from delays in the provision of social and therapy requirements. Discharge delays are costly for hospitals and depressing for patients. Investment is required to enable health and social-care professionals to work more closely to improve the patient journey.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge*
  • State Medicine / organization & administration
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult