PloS one 2017 07 2712(7) e0181827 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0181827
Some patients experience a delayed discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU) where the intended and actual discharge times do not coincide. The clinical implications of this remain unclear.
To determine the incidence and duration of delayed ICU discharge, identify the reasons for delay and evaluate the clinical consequences.
Prospective multi-centre observational study involving five ICUs over a 3-month period. Delay in discharge was defined as >6 hours from the planned discharge time. The primary outcome measure was hospital length stay after ICU discharge decision. Secondary outcome measures included ICU discharge after-hours, incidence of delirium, survival to hospital discharge, discharge destination, the incidence of ICU acquired infections, revocation of ICU discharge decision, unplanned readmissions to ICU within 72 hours, review of patients admitting team after ICU discharge decision.
A total of 955 out of 1118 patients discharged were included in analysis. 49.9% of the patients discharge was delayed. The most common reason (74%) for delay in discharge was non-availability of ward bed. The median duration of the delay was 24 hours. On univariable analysis, the duration of hospital stay from the time of ICU discharge decision was significantly higher in patients who had ICU discharge delay (Median days-5 vs 6; p = 0.003). After-hours discharge was higher in patients whose discharge was delayed (34% Vs 10%; p<0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in the other secondary outcomes analysed. Multivariable analysis adjusting for known confounders revealed delayed ICU discharge was independently associated with increased hospital length of stay. CONCLUSION
Half of all ICU patients experienced a delay in ICU discharge. Delayed discharge was associated with increased hospital length of stay.