A unit-coordinator system: an effective method of reducing inappropriate hospital stays
S.Y. Yu ; I.S. Ko ; C. Lee ; Y.W. Park ; S.M. Lee
International Nursing Review, Vol.58(1) : 96~102, 2011
International Nursing Review
BACKGROUND: Many hospitals would benefit from a reduction in the length of inpatient hospital stays; in this regard, nursing approaches require complementation to ensure optimized nursing care. Such action is particularly important in general hospitals in Korea, where the ratio of patients to nurses is more than 10:1.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of a unit-coordinator system in complementing primary nursing in general hospitals as a means of reducing inappropriate hospital stays.
METHODS: The unit-coordinator system was implemented in seven wards in a hospital in Seoul for 8 weeks. The existing primary nursing system was maintained, and newly placed unit-coordinators organized the activities within each ward. The numbers of early admissions and early discharges were determined by assessing the electronic administrative records of the hospital. Further, the number of patients who had undergone check-ups and chemotherapy on the day of admission was confirmed from the daily reports of each ward. The effect of the unit-coordinator system on nurse satisfaction was assessed through direct interviews.
FINDINGS: Early-discharge and early-admission numbers increased significantly after implementation of the unit-coordinator system. Early admission allowed check-ups and treatments to be performed on the day of admission. Thus, this system reduced the length of hospital stay by 1 day, and the total reduction of inappropriate hospital stays over the 8-week study period was 66 days. Further, the unit-coordinator system also increased nurse satisfaction.
CONCLUSION: The unit-coordinator system is an effective method of complementing primary nursing and reducing inappropriate hospital stays.