Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

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Increased allied health services to general and acute medical units decreases length of stay: comparison with a historical cohort.

Ellen Mills , Vicki Hume , Kathy Stiller


Objective. This study evaluated the effect of an initiative to fund increased allied health (AH) services, enabling increased days and volume/scope of AH services, for general medical inpatients in our local health network for a 6-month trial period. Methods. A quasi-experimental, mixed methods study was undertaken involving general medical inpatients at two acute, tertiary-referral, public hospitals, with a prospective (December 2015 – May 2016) and historical comparison cohort (December 2014 – May 2015). Outcome measures compared between the two cohorts included hospital LOS, occupied bed-days, adverse events and AH service data. Result. Median (IQR) hospital LOS significantly decreased from 7.2 (0.9) to 6.5 (0.6) days (P = 0.006) and occupied bed-days significantly fell from 5,295.0 (422.3) to 4,662.5 (408.5) bed-days per month (P = 0.004) post-implementation of the increased AH services. There was no significant change in weekend discharges or adverse events. AH services increased, with the median number of referrals seen by AH per month, occasions of AH service and AH time per month increasing by 17%, 45% and 43% respectively, along with a faster response time to referrals. Conclusions. Increased levels of AH staffing to general medical inpatients were associated with a significant reduction in hospital LOS and occupied bed-days.

AH16220  Accepted 17 February 2017

© CSIRO 2017