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Objective: To analyse trends in length of hospital stay before and after the implementation of the Community Rehabilitation Northern Queensland Service (CRNQ) in Townsville, Australia.
Design: Retrospective analysis of collected administrative data provided by the data custodian Townsville Hospital Health Service District.
Setting: All patients discharged from the Townsville hospital between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2013 for whom the Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups were stroke (B70), degenerative nervous system disorders (B67) or rehabilitation (Z60).
Main outcome measures: Average length of stay and total number of inpatient episodes coded stroke, degenerative nervous system disorders or rehabilitation.
Results: Length of stay for the selected diagnosis related groups was consistently ranging from 23 days to 25 days for the period 2008-2012. In the first year of full operational capacity of CRNQ (2012-13), there was an average reduction of six days in length of stay. The major reductions in length of stay occurred in patients admitted for rehabilitation care.
Conclusions: This study adds additional evidence that earlier discharge can be facilitated for patients with neurological conditions living outside metropolitan areas when appropriate rehabilitation services are available in the community.
Abbreviations: AR-DRG – Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups; CRNQ – Community Rehabilitation Northern Queensland Service.