Hospital deaths among non-Covid patients during the Covid-19 pandemic were 1.2 times higher than earlier, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Managed Care. Covid-19 surges affected patient care, especially for the people aged 45 years and above.
The study, conducted by Weiwei Chen of Kennesaw State University, said non-Covid patients had poorer outcomes in United States hospitals overwhelmed with large numbers of Covid-19 cases, and in-hospital death for non-Covid patients was 1.2 times higher than before the onset of the pandemic.
Factors behind increased mortality of non-Covid patients during pandemic
In a statement released by Kennesaw State University, Chen said multiple factors contributed to the increase in mortality rates with Covid-19 spikes. However, resource constraints, which include healthcare worker burnout, staff shortages and reduced bed space seemed to be the main reason.
Significance of the study
Researchers could analyse the patterns observed during the pandemic to devise ways to alleviate overcrowding and falling patient outcomes in the future. For instance, during the pandemic, discharging hospital patients to home care grew, while discharging to skilled nursing facilities declined. This shows the promise of home health care as an alternative care option during the pandemic, the study said.
Chen said a major implication is that it is going to be very important to monitor patient outcomes at hospitals during pandemics in real time, even though it may be very difficult, because this is the best way to ensure the best possible patient outcomes.
The data for the study came from a large insurance claims clearinghouse, which covered hospitals nationwide. Chen said she hopes the implications of the research include better preparation for future pandemics or large-scale illnesses.
Robin Cheramie, dean of the Coles College of Business, the college Chen is a part of, said the research challenges the world to learn from the pandemic and includes key insights into what can be done to lessen the most dramatic effects of a large-scale event in the future.
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