Why you should avoid hospitals on weekends and holidays

Posted on November 30, 2015

Photo source: Flickr

Hospitals have worse outcomes in patient care on weekends and holidays. Despite extensive research, it remains unclear why.

One possibility is that there may be a selection effect at work. For example, it might be that people engage in riskier behaviors during their free time that is more likely land them in the hospital. (Alcohol comes to mind.) Or perhaps some patients with illnesses during the week wait until the weekend before going to the hospital — at which point their condition is worse than they would've been if they'd gone in right away.

But there's also some reason to think that hospital care is different during holidays and weekends, and perhaps slightly lower quality. The health professionals who get stuck working these hours tend have less seniority and experience. And the staffing might be thinner. That might explain the poorer health outcomes, at least in part.

If you’ve ever been to a hospital on a weekend or holiday and ended up waiting for hours to be discharged, there’s a pretty simple explanation for that: There are fewer health professionals, lab technicians, and diagnosticians around. That means that those with less urgent problems end up waiting a lot longer.

During weekends and holidays, doctors and nurses may be a little more rushed when they’re caring for patients. They may not have the bedside manner they usually do. It also means you may need to advocate for yourself a little more and speak up if you’re not getting the care you need.

Category(s):Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Source material from Vox

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