Objective: The aim of this paper is to examine the costs of introducing a nursing-led ward program together with examining the impact this may have on patients' outcomes.
Methods: The study had a sample size of 177 patients with a mean age of 77, and randomized to either a treatment group (care on a nursing-led ward, n = 97) or a control group (standard care usually on a consultant-led acute ward, n = 80). Resource use data including length of stay, tests and investigations performed, and multidisciplinary involvement in care were collected.
Results: There were no significant differences in outcome between the two groups. The inpatient costs for the treatment group were significantly higher, due to the longer length of stay in this group. However, the postdischarge costs were significantly lower for the treatment group.
Conclusions: The provision of nursing-led intermediate care units has been proposed as a solution to inappropriate use of acute medical wards by patients who require additional nursing rather than medical care. Whether the treatment group is ultimately cost-additive is dependent on how long reductions in postdischarge resource use are maintained.