Using Simulation to Model Improvements in Pediatric Bed Placement in an Acute Care Hospital

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The objective of this project was to use an interdisciplinary approach to analyze strategies through simulation technology for improving patient flow in a pediatric hospital.


Various statistics have been offered on the number of children admitted annually to hospitals. For administrators, particularly in smaller systems, the financial burden of equipping and staffing pediatric units often outweighs the moral desire to maintain a pediatric unit as a viable option for patients and pediatricians.


Discrete event simulation was used to model current operations of a pediatric unit. Cost analysis was conducted using simulation reflecting various percentages of patients being referred to a discharge holding area (DHA) upon discharge and of the use of all private rooms.


Both DHA and private rooms resulted in increased patient volumes.


Administrators should consider the use of a DHA and/or private rooms to ease the census strains of pediatric units and the resultant revenue of this service.

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