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Decreasing length of hospitalization increases post-discharge complications for surgical patients

October 25, 2021


New study results suggest the national trend toward decreasing length of hospitalization after surgical procedures may come at the expense of an increasing proportion of complications occurring after patients leave the hospital. Findings from one of the few studies to explore the relationship between length of stay (LOS) and post-discharge complications for surgical patients were presented at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) virtual Clinical Congress 2021.

Hospitals have shortened inpatients’ hospital stays over the past two decades amid factors including an emphasis on outpatient treatment, bed shortages, cost-cutting measures, and payers’ requirements. The new study found the median, or middle, LOS after an operation dropped by one-third, from three days in 2014 to two days in 2019.

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