Risk of Injuries & Illnesses for Patients Admitted on Weekends

weekend.jpgPatients who are admitted into the hospital for treatment of a medical condition are much more likely to suffer a hospital-acquired condition like an injury or illness, when admitted over weekends, compared to patients who are admitted during week days.

The results came from a study that analyzed 350-million hospital admissions between 2002 and 2010. The researchers found that approximately 5% of these admissions resulted in the patient contracting at least one hospital-acquired condition. They also found that admission on a weekend was linked to a 20% higher chance of the patient contracting a hospital-acquired condition, compared to patients admitted during weekdays.

The most common complication for patients admitted into the hospital on weekends was accidents due to fall. Falls occurred in approximately 14-million hospital admissions that occurred on weekends, and accounted for 85% of all the hospital-acquired conditions. Other conditions included bedsores or pressure ulcers, as well as central line-associated urinary tract infections.

An overwhelming majority or 81% of admissions, occurred on weekdays but preventable complications were much more likely to occur during weekends. In the case of week day admissions, approximately 3.7 percent of patients suffered an injury or illness while in the hospital, while in the case of weekend admissions, that rate jumped to 5.7%.

There are a number of possible factors that could explain a higher risk of injury or illness when you are admitted into the hospital over the weekend. One of the primary reasons is that many hospitals operate with minimum staff over the weekend. Additionally, the risk of complications is much higher because many specialists who might have been able to prevent these complications are usually off duty on weekends.

The researchers believe that it is premature to simply conclude that reduced staffing levels contribute to the higher injury/illness risk over the weekends. It could also be that patients admitted on weekends are more likely to be admitted for emergencies or very serious conditions, which increases the risk of complications. However, regardless of whether a patient is admitted on a weekend or weekday, reducing the risk of preventable complications is something that all hospitals should undertake as a priority.

The Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Muller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy represent persons who have been harmed by negligent medical care. If you have been injured by medical malpractice, consult one of our attorneys with medical malpractice experience.