oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - A profile on health status and medical conditions of patients staying longer than the set norm at a district hospital in South Africa : original research



The average length of hospital stay is regarded as a key determinant of greater hospital costs. The objectives of this quantitative, retrospective, descriptive study were to determine the health status and medical conditions of patients with increased length of stay at a district hospital in Limpopo Province. A total of 609 patients' records with longer than average length of stay, from January to December 2007, were selected by stratified random sampling. The most prevalent diseases for staying longer were infectious and parasitic diseases, symptoms, signs etc, and injury, poisoning and consequences of causes yielding more than a third (36% and 12%, respectively, for each classification). Neoplasm-related admissions, in which cancer was identified as the most prevalent, stayed in hospital for an average of 14.6 days. The average length of stay for all disease classifications ranged from 7.1 days to 14.6 days. The length of stay at Elim Hospital is mostly influenced by the type of health conditions which are diagnosed. Further research is needed to find influential factors that might contribute to patients staying longer than normal.


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