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J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Jul;34(7):1314-1321. doi: 10.1007/s11606-019-05008-4. Epub 2019 Apr 22.

What Quality and Safety of Care for Patients Admitted to Clinically Inappropriate Wards: a Systematic Review.

Author information

1
SS Risk Management, ASL5 Liguria, La Spezia, Italy. micaela.laregina@asl5.liguria.it.
2
Laboratorio Management e Sanita`, Institute of Management of Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
3
SS Risk Management, ASL5 Liguria, La Spezia, Italy.
4
Direzione Sanitaria, ASL4 Liguria, Chiavari, Italy.
5
Dipartimento Medicina Interna, Bologna, Italy.
6
Dipartimento Medico Ospedale di Legnano, Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale Ovest Milanese, Legnano, MI, Italy.
7
Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Ospedale del Buonconsiglio - Fatebenefratelli Napoli, Naples, NA, Italy.
8
Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Azienda Ospedaliera Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy.
9
UO Medicina Interna, Ospedale Fatebenefratelli Isola Tiberina, Rome, Italy.
10
Centro Gestione Rischio Clinico Regione Toscana, Florence, Italy.
11
Centro Studi FADOI, Rome, Italy.
12
Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università dell'Insubria, Varese, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In countries with public health system, hospital bed reductions and increasing social and medical frailty have led to the phenomenon of "outliers" or "outlying hospital in-patients." They are often medical patients who, because of unavailability of beds in their clinically appropriate ward, are admitted wherever unoccupied beds are. The present work is aimed to systematically review literature about quality and safety of care for patients admitted to clinically inappropriate wards.

METHODS:

We performed a systematic review of studies investigating outliers, published in peer-reviewed journals with no time restrictions. Search and screening were conducted by two independent researchers (MLR and ER). Studies were considered potentially eligible for this systematic review if aimed to assess the quality and/or the safety of care for patients admitted to clinically inappropriate units. Our search was supplemented by a hand search of references of included studies. Given the heterogeneity of studies, results were analyzed thematically. We used PRISMA guidelines to report our findings.

RESULTS:

We collected 17 eligible papers and grouped them into six thematic categories. Despite their methodological limits, the included studies show increased trends in mortality and readmissions among outliers. Quality of care and patient safety are compromised as patients and health professionals declare and risk analysis displays. Reported solutions are often multicomponent, stress early discharge but have not been investigated in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Published literature cannot definitely conclude on the quality and safety of care for patients admitted to clinically inappropriate wards. As they may represent a serious threat for quality and safety, and moreover often neglected and under valued, well-designed and powered prospective studies are urgently needed.

KEYWORDS:

clinically inappropriate wards; hospital administration; medical outliers; quality assessment; risk assessment

PMID:
31011980
DOI:
10.1007/s11606-019-05008-4

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