Background The APCU is a hospital in-patient palliative care unit which specialises in caring for patients with complex life limiting conditions. There is a gap in the research base of hospital based specialist palliative care inpatient units regarding the quality and benefits of such services for patients and their families.
Aims The main aim of this study is to look at the length of stay (LOS) of patients admitted to the APCU and compare this to different discharge outcomes. Secondary aims include whether LOS differs in patients admitted to APCU from emergency assessment units compared to non-emergency areas of the hospital and if there is a link between LOS prior to APCU admission and LOS on APCU.
Method Data was collected regarding LOS of 859 patients admitted on APCU from April 2018 to March 2020 using Hospital Episodic Data. Excel and SPSS software used for data analysis.
Results • LOS based on discharge outcome in days (difference between outcomes significant at p<0.001 using Kruskal-Wallis statistical test)-
New Care home= 30.0
Hospital ward= 19.2
Usual care home= 15.2
• LOS on APCU depending on admission location in days (difference significant at p<0.001 using the Mann-Whitney statistical test)-
Emergency unit- 7.8
• Positive correlation between LOS prior to APCU and bed days on APCU significant at p<0.045 using ANOVA statistical test
Conclusion Results for the primary aim show a significant variation in length of stay for different discharge outcomes which identifies the need for more research regarding why this may be, perhaps by looking into transfer processes and whether this affects how efficiently patients can be discharged. Results have identified factors that affect length of stay such as long length of stay on wards prior to being admitted on APCU and admission from a non-emergency department.
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