1 Department of Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada2 Steinberg-Bernstein Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery and Innovation, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada3 Department of Anesthesia, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada4 Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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BACKGROUND:Hospital length of stay is often used as a measure of in-hospital recovery but may be confounded by organizational factors. Time to readiness for discharge may provide a superior index of recovery.OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study was to contribute evidence for the construct validity of time to readiness for discharge and length of stay as measures of in-hospital recovery after colorectal surgery in the context of a well-established enhanced recovery pathway.DESIGN:This was an observational validation study designed according to the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) checklist.SETTINGS:The study was conducted at a university-affiliated tertiary hospital.PATIENTS:A total of 100 consecutive patients undergoing elective colorectal resection (mean age = 65 y; 57% men; 81% laparoscopic) who participated in a randomized controlled trial were included.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:We tested a priori hypotheses that length of stay and time-to-readiness for discharge are longer in patients undergoing open surgery, with lower physical status, with severe comorbidities, with postoperative complications, undergoing rectal surgery, who are older (≥75 y), who have a new stoma, and who have inflammatory bowel disease.RESULTS:Median time-to-readiness for discharge and length of stay were both 3 days. For both measures, 6 of 8 construct validity hypotheses were supported (hypotheses 1 and 4–8).LIMITATIONS:The use of secondary data from a randomized controlled trial (risk of selection bias) was a limitation. Results may not be generalizable to institutions where patient care is not equally structured.CONCLUSIONS:This study contributes evidence to the construct validity of time-to-readiness for discharge and length of stay as measures of in-hospital recovery within enhanced recovery pathways. Our findings suggest that length of stay can be a less resource-intensive and equally construct-valid index of in-hospital recovery compared with time-to-readiness for discharge. Enhanced recovery pathways may decrease process-of-care variances that impact length of stay, allowing more timely discharge once discharge criteria are achieved. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/A564.