Original Research

Association of Weekend Admission and Weekend Discharge with Length of Stay and 30-Day Readmission in Children’s Hospitals

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Worse outcomes among adults presenting for/receiving care on weekends (ie, “the weekend effect”) have been observed for many diseases. However, little is known about the overall impact of the weekend effect in hospitalized children.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between weekend admission and length of stay (LOS) and between weekend discharge and 30-day all-cause readmission.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study of children hospitalized between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015 using the Pediatric Health Information System. Birth hospitalizations and planned procedures were excluded. We used generalized linear mixed modeling to assess the independent association between weekend admission and LOS and weekend discharge and readmission risk.

RESULTS: Among 390,745 hospitalizations across 43 hospitals, the median LOS was 41 hours (interquartile range [IQR] 24-71) and the 30-day readmission rate was 8.2% (IQR 7.2-9.4). We observed no association between weekend admission and LOS (adjusted LOS [95% CI: weekend 63.70 [61.01-66.52] hours vs weekday 63.40 [60.73-66.19] hours, P = .112). Weekend discharge was associated with slightly increased odds of readmission compared with weekday discharge (adjusted probability of readmission [95% CI]: weekend 0.13 [0.12-0.13] vs weekday 0.11 [0.11-0.12], P < .001) but was variable among individual hospitals. Patient characteristics (ie, number of chronic conditions) were more strongly associated with LOS and readmission risk than weekend admission or discharge.

CONCLUSIONS: Patient-level factors (ie, clinical and demographic characteristics) are more indicative of longer LOS and readmission risk than weekend admissions or discharges. The overall impact of the weekend effect across children’s hospitals was minimal.

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