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Length of stay in hospital

Number of stays

MyHospitals presents information about the number of admissions at individual hospitals. Admissions are presented by categories including childbirth, surgical, medical, other acute care, mental health, rehabilitation care, palliative care, and other subacute and non-acute care. Admissions can include same-day or overnight stays. This information can be used to understand the types of patient this hospital most often cares for and the services that the hospital provides.

Number of admissions

Data source

National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD)

About the measure

An admission refers to the administrative process by which a hospital records the commencement of a new episode of care (stay). Admissions are grouped into categories using Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRG) version 6.0x and the reported care type, which defines the overall nature of a clinical service provided to an admitted patient during a stay. The categories are mutually exclusive, meaning that each admission is only grouped into one category, according to the descending order of priority as listed below.

Admissions are presented in the following categories:

  • Childbirth – defined as stays that have a caesarean delivery or vaginal delivery (with and without operating room procedure) AR-DRG
  • Surgical – defined as stays that have a surgical AR-DRG
  • Medical – defined as stays that have a non-surgical AR-DRG
  • Other acute care – defined as stays that have neither a surgical nor a medical AR-DRG
  • Surgical, medical and other acute care stays are further divided into ‘emergency’ and ‘non-emergency’, based on the recorded urgency of admission – that is, whether admission was considered to be necessary within 24 hours (emergency) or not (non-emergency)
  • Mental health – defined as stays that include psychiatric care days (prior to 2015–16), or stays that include psychiatric care days or have a mental health care type (2015–16), or stays that have a mental health care type (2016–17)
  • Rehabilitation care – defined as stays that have a rehabilitation care type
  • Palliative care – defined as stays that have a palliative care type
  • Other subacute and non-acute care – defined as stays that have a geriatric evaluation and management, psychogeriatric or maintenance care type.

A new care type for mental health was introduced on 1 July 2015 to help identify admissions for mental health more clearly. Due to the introduction of the mental health care type, the data for 2015–16 are not comparable with earlier years, and data from 2016–17 are not comparable with earlier years.

Admissions are counted in the financial year in which the stay ended.

Calculating the measure

Admissions are reported for public hospitals only, and exclude newborns without qualified days, people boarding at a facility and not receiving treatment or care, and deceased patients admitted for organ donation.

If an admissions count is less than five but greater than zero the value is marked as ‘<5’ and is excluded from the total count.

Note
Additional information on admissions can be found in Admitted patient care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW, 2018).