Early Discharge – Is it Bad for your Health?

A recent study by the University of Umea in Sweden found that older people who suffer Hip fractures are more likely to die if they are discharged from hospital within 5 days rather than recover in hospital for 15 days or more the Telegraph reported recently.

The Swedish study found that those who were sent home within 5 days were twice as likely to die in the follow-up period than those recovered in hospital for 15 days or more. Professor Nordstrom, Professor of geriatrics found that their results suggested that the continuous efforts to decrease length of stay after major surgery is associated with higher mortality after hospital discharge.

The team looked at 116,111 Swedish residents age 50 years and over who had been admitted to hospital with a hip fracture between 2006 and 2012. Lengths of hospital stay and deaths during and after hospital admission were analysed.

Overall, 5% of patients died during hospital stay, 5.5% of patients died within 30 days of hospital discharge and 25.9% of patients died within one year after fracture.

The results of the study showed that the average length of stay in hospital between 2006 and 2012 with a hip fracture decreased from 14.2 days in 2006 to 11.6 days in 2012, which is likely to be in line with other high income countries in Europe, such as Britain.

Researchers found that those who were sent home within 5 days had doubled the risk of dying in 6 year follow-up period of the study, suggesting that the fortnight preceding an injury was crucial to long-term health.

Many hospitals are under pressure to free up beds and will discharge patients as soon as able and although they will be medically fit for discharge they may still require input from other services such as nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy; services which are readily available within the hospital environment and may reduce the risks of further falls in the future.