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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


PAZIN-FILHO, Antonio et al. Impact of long-stay beds on the performance of a tertiary hospital in emergencies. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2015, vol.49, 83.  Epub Dec 31, 2015. ISSN 1518-8787.


To assess the impact of implementing long-stay beds for patients of low complexity and high dependency in small hospitals on the performance of an emergency referral tertiary hospital.


For this longitudinal study, we identified hospitals in three municipalities of a regional department of health covered by tertiary care that supplied 10 long-stay beds each. Patients were transferred to hospitals in those municipalities based on a specific protocol. The outcome of transferred patients was obtained by daily monitoring. Confounding factors were adjusted by Cox logistic and semiparametric regression.


Between September 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, 97 patients were transferred, 72.1% male, with a mean age of 60.5 years (SD = 1.9), for which 108 transfers were performed. Of these patients, 41.7% died, 33.3% were discharged, 15.7% returned to tertiary care, and only 9.3% tertiary remained hospitalized until the end of the analysis period. We estimated the Charlson comorbidity index – 0 (n = 28 [25.9%]), 1 (n = 31 [56.5%]) and ≥ 2 (n = 19 [17.5%]) – the only variable that increased the chance of death or return to the tertiary hospital (Odds Ratio = 2.4; 95%CI 1.3;4.4). The length of stay in long-stay beds was 4,253 patient days, which would represent 607 patients at the tertiary hospital, considering the average hospital stay of seven days. The tertiary hospital increased the number of patients treated in 50.0% for Intensive Care, 66.0% for Neurology and 9.3% in total. Patients stayed in long-stay beds mainly in the first 30 (50.0%) and 60 (75.0%) days.


Implementing long-stay beds increased the number of patients treated in tertiary care, both in general and in system bottleneck areas such as Neurology and Intensive Care. The Charlson index of comorbidity is associated with the chance of patient death or return to tertiary care, even when adjusted for possible confounding factors.

Keywords : Bed Occupancy; Hospital Bed Capacity; Length of Stay; Long-Term Care; Tertiary Healthcare; Emergency Medical Services; Charlson Comorbidity Index.

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