We compared patients’ evaluation of care between a surgical unit with a rapid discharge policy and two comparison units to test the hypothesis that the centre with rapid discharge has outcomes that are not inferior to those of the comparison sites.Design:
Cross-sectional cohort study.Subjects:
Consecutive consenting patients undergoing primary hip arthroplasty during 12 months in: a unit that had reduced postoperative stay to median three days; a specialised orthopaedic surgery treatment centre with median stay of five days; a traditional unit with median stay of six days (N = 316, 125, 119, respectively).Methods:
Six weeks postoperatively, patients completed a specially developed questionnaire measuring their evaluation of care and recovery, together with measures of function and quality of life for validation purposes.Results:
Factor analysis of questionnaire responses identified two independent components of patients’ evaluation: problems in staff care and problems in physical recovery. Neither component was impaired in the unit with rapid discharge: similar proportions of patients reported recovery problems in each site (odds radios (ORs) for the two comparators versus unit with rapid discharge: 0.96, 1.18); and more patients reported care problems in the two comparator sites (ORs 2.97, 2.16).Conclusion:
Duration of stay after primary hip arthroplasty can be reduced to three days without intensive pre- or postoperative care, without detriment to patient evaluation.