, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 1050-1052
Date: 16 Apr 2011

Excellent Hospital Care for All: Open and Operating 24/7

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Nights and weekends are the times when most people are admitted to the hospital. They are also synonymous with reduced staffing levels and fewer specialized diagnostic, procedural, and treatment options. Indeed, there is increasing evidence suggesting that patient care is compromised during these times. Equally important is the inefficient use of capital investments during nights and weekends, and inappropriate utilization of hospital beds caused by poor weekend discharge flexibility. We believe that these findings should be of concern not just to hospital care providers, but across care settings and to the general public. In this perspective article, we highlight how our current office-hours system of running hospitals threatens the lives of our sickest, most vulnerable patients, describe solutions currently implemented in hospitals that may alleviate this disparity, and discuss challenges to wider scale implementation.