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

May 14, 2014

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."

Explore further: Death rates greater for weekend hospital admissions

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

October 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 New South Wales ...

Weekend spine surgery linked to longer stays, higher costs

December 11, 2013
(HealthDay)—Patients admitted to the hospital on weekends for cervical spine fusion resulting from trauma have a greater length of stay and total hospital costs than their weekday counterparts, according to a study published ...

Operative death rates higher at weekend, warn researchers

May 28, 2013
There is a higher risk of death for patients who have elective surgery later in the week and at the weekend, compared with those earlier in the week, a paper published today on BMJ website suggests.

No 'weekend effect' seen following appendix removal operations

October 7, 2013
Patients who undergo surgical removal of the appendix on a weekend do not experience more postoperative complications than those who undergo the same operation on weekdays, but they do pay slightly more in hospital charges, ...

Recommended for you

Mistletoe and (a large) wine: Seven-fold increase in wine glass size over 300 years

December 13, 2017
Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today - if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have ...

Searching for a link between achy joints and rainy weather in a flood of data, researchers come up dry

December 13, 2017
Rainy weather has long been blamed for achy joints. Unjustly so, according to new research from Harvard Medical School. The analysis, published Dec. 13 in BMJ, found no relationship between rainfall and joint or back pain.

How well can digital assistants answer questions on sex?

December 13, 2017
Google laptop searches seem to be better at finding quality online sexual health advice than digital assistants on smartphones, find experts in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Healthy eating linked to kids' happiness

December 13, 2017
Healthy eating is associated with better self-esteem and fewer emotional and peer problems, such as having fewer friends or being picked on or bullied, in children regardless of body weight, according to a study published ...

Owning a pet does not seem to influence signs of aging

December 13, 2017
Owning a pet does not appear to slow the rate of ageing, as measured by standard indicators, suggest the authors of a study published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Increased air pollution linked to bad teenage behavior

December 13, 2017
A new study linking higher levels of air pollution to increased teenage delinquency is a reminder of the importance of clean air and the need for more foliage in urban spaces, a Keck School of Medicine of USC researcher said.

0 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.