Nursing Diagnoses as Predictors of Hospital Length of Stay: A Prospective Observational Study
To investigate whether the number of nursing diagnoses on hospital admission is an independent predictor of the hospital length of stay.
A prospective observational study was carried out. A sample of 2,190 patients consecutively admitted (from July to December 2014) in four inpatient units (two medical, two surgical) of a 1,547-bed university hospital were enrolled for the study.
Data were collected from a clinical nursing information system and the hospital discharge register. Two regression analyses were performed to investigate if the number of nursing diagnoses on hospital admission was an independent predictor of length of stay and length of stay deviation after controlling for patients' sociodemographic characteristics (age, gender), clinical variables (disease groupers, disease severity morbidity indexes), and organizational hospital variables (admitting inpatient unit, modality of admission).
The number of nursing diagnoses was shown to be an independent predictor of both the length of stay (β = .15; p < .001) and the length of stay deviation (β = .19; p < .001).
The number of nursing diagnoses is a strong independent predictor of an effective hospital length of stay and of a length of stay longer than expected.
The systematic inclusion of standard nursing care data in electronic health records can improve the predictive ability on hospital outcomes and describe the patient complexity more comprehensively, improving hospital management efficiency.
Diagnosis-related groups; hospital length of stay; nursing diagnosis; observational study; outcome; regression analysis.