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

Americans misinformed about smoking

August 22, 2017
After voluminous research studies, numerous lawsuits and millions of deaths linked to cigarettes, it might seem likely that Americans now properly understand the risks of smoking.

Women who sexually abuse children are just as harmful to their victims as male abusers

August 21, 2017
"That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?"

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

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.