Higher death rates for weekend hospital stays regardless of day of admission

People hospitalised with COPD or pneumonia are more likely to die during a weekend stay in hospital, according to a new study.

The research, published online today (15 May 2014) in the European Respiratory Journal, is the first to assess among staying in over the , irrespective of the day of admission.

Previous studies have identified the 'weekend effect', where patients admitted to hospital at the weekend have an increased risk of dying. While this could be down to a shortage of staff, it could also be due to the fact that more severe patients will admit themselves to hospital during a weekend, while those with milder symptoms would wait to speak to their doctor the following week.

This new study analysed the 'weekend effect' in a different way by assessing whether patients who stayed in hospital over the weekend, even if they were admitted earlier in the week, were also experiencing an increased risk of death.

Researchers from the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, used to examine death rates in over 300,000 people over the age of 50 who were admitted to hospital with either COPD or pneumonia between 1990 and 2007.

The results demonstrated that, irrespective of when patients are admitted to hospital, if they stay over the weekend the risk of death is increased. During the weekday, the death rate was 80 per 10,000 per day. On a Friday, the risk of death increased by 5%, suggesting an additional 4 deaths per 10,000. On a Saturday and Sunday the risk increased by 7% suggesting an additional 5.6 deaths per 10,000 for each weekend day.

The findings therefore suggest that the increase in the risk of is due to a reduced quality of care, or reduced access to high quality care at the weekend, an effect that appears to begin on Friday.

Lead author, Dr Samy Suissa, from the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, said: "Our study is the first to report an increase in mortality for patients staying in hospital over the weekend. The findings of our study have huge implications for the way healthcare is delivered across the globe. It may be time to reconsider the weekend concept in the healthcare calendar to avert a significant number of likely preventable deaths."

More information: Friday and weekend hospital stays: effects on mortality, Samy Suissa, Sophie Dell'Aniello, Daniel Suissa, Pierre Ernst, DOI: 10.1183/09031936.00007714

Related Stories

Death rates greater for weekend hospital admissions

date Oct 28, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Death rates are greater if a patient is admitted to hospital via the Emergency Department over the weekend than during the working week, according to new research from the University of ...

Weekend hospital stays worse for kidney patients

date Nov 19, 2010

Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who are admitted to the hospital during the weekend are at increased risk of death, according to a study presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 43rd Annual Meeting and ...

Recommended for you

Physician/Pharmacist model can improve mean BP

date Mar 27, 2015

(HealthDay)—A physician/pharmacist collaborative model can improve mean blood pressure (BP), according to a study published online March 24 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Innovative prototype presented for post-ICU patients

date Mar 27, 2015

(HealthDay)—A collaborative care model, the Critical Care Recovery Center (CCRC), represents an innovative prototype aimed to improve the quality of life of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors, according ...

Clues to a city's health may be found in its sewage

date Mar 27, 2015

Research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee suggests that sampling a city's sewage can tell scientists a great deal about its residents – and may someday lead to improvements in public health.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.