We’ve done several columns on the fact that there are dangers on weekends in most hospitals that go above and beyond those present on weekdays or even weekday nights.
Yet another study (Ricciardi 2011) has come to similar conclusions about mortality for a variety of conditions. The authors studied nonelective hospital admissions in a large all-payor database and analyzed data by day of the week admitted. They found that mortality rates were higher for 15 of 26 major diagnostic categories when patients were admitted on weekends. Even after adjustment for comorbidities and a variety of other clinical and demographic characteristics there remained a significant increase in mortality, on the order of 10% higher for those admitted on weekends.
They discuss some of the potential underlying root causes. Some services that do not show the “weekend effect”, such as trauma and burn services, tend to have processes and staffing that are more geared for a 24x7 week. They go on to discuss staffing issues, both the quantity of weekend staffing and the experience level as well.
We’ve discussed the numerous factors that may contribute to the “weekend effect” in our previous columns:
Ricciardi R, Roberts PL, Read TE, et al. Mortality Rate After Nonelective Hospital Admission. Arch Surg. 2011; 146(5): 545-551