Background and objective: Unplanned hospital admission is a measure of quality of care in the setting of day-case surgery. We set out to identify the incidence and causes of unplanned hospital admission in a paediatric day-case unit.
Methods: A retrospective survey to determine the incidence and causes of unplanned hospital admissions in children undergoing day-case surgery. The survey covered the period from January 1996 until December 1999 inclusive in a university affiliated children’s hospital. This hospital is the second largest paediatric referral centre in Ireland with total admissions across all specialities during the study period of 42 738.
Results: During the study period 10 772 children underwent day-case surgery, of whom 242 (2.2%) experienced unplanned hospital admission. The reasons for admission were surgical 146 (54%), anaesthetic 44 (16%), social 38 (14%), medical 31 (11%) and unclassified 10 (4%). Pain, surgical complications and/or further management, admission for observation, extensive surgery and oozing were the commonest surgical reasons. Postoperative nausea and vomiting, anaesthetic-related complication and somnolence were the commonest anaesthetic causes responsible for admission. Surgery performed after 15:00 h was an important factor associated with admission for social reasons. Orthopaedic surgery accounted for the largest absolute number of unplanned admissions with 61 (25%), followed by urology with 46 (19%) and general surgery with 46 (19%). However, measured as percentage of caseload, urology had the highest proportion of unplanned hospital admissions.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the incidence and causes of unplanned hospital admission following day-case surgery in children are similar to those for adults.