Patients in public hospitals experience more discharge delays: Study

Researchers found that discharge delays are more persistent for patients in public hospitals when compared to private, nonprofit hospitals — 12 percent versus 7.2 percent, respectively.

The same is true of 14.5 percent of patients at county-owned hospitals compared to 8.8 percent of patients at non-county-owned hospitals, researchers found.

For the study — which was published Aug. 8 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine — researchers conducted a survey of acute care medicine attending physicians at 15 academic hospitals in the U.S. and looked at cases of 1,928 patients.

Of the nearly 2,000 patient cases analyzed, researchers found that 35 percent of those patients were medically ready for discharge and almost 10 percent of those ready for discharge were classified as having "major discharge barriers." They also discovered that 44 percent of those patients spent a month or longer medically ready for discharge and nearly 85 percent were in need of skilled therapy or daily living support in order to be discharged. 

"Patients experience major discharge barriers in many U.S. hospitals and spend prolonged time awaiting discharge, often for support needs that may be outside of clinician control," they wrote of their findings. 

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