Powered by: Blackwell Publishing

HRET - Health Research & Educational Trust

HSR - Health Services Research

Impacting Health Practice and Policy Through State-of-the-Art Research and Thinking

Our Next Issue

February 2019
Coming Soon! Read



Surge Capacity: Analysis of Census Fluctuations to Estimate the Number of Intensive Care Unit Beds Needed

Free Access

Keywords: Critical care;bed occupancy;resource allocation

Objective: To compare methods of characterizing intensive care unit (ICU) bed use and estimate the number of beds needed.

Study Setting: Three geographic regions in the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of population-based data from April 1, 2000, to March 31, 2007.

Methods: We compared three methods to estimate ICU bed requirements. Method 1 analyzed yearly patient-days. Methods 2 and 3 analyzed day-to-day fluctuations in patient census; these differed by whether each hospital needed to independently fulfill its own demand or this resource was shared across hospitals.

Principal Findings: Three main findings were as follows: (1) estimates based on yearly average usage generally underestimated the number of beds needed compared to analysis of fluctuations in census, especially in the smaller regions where underestimation ranged 25–58 percent; (2) 4–29 percent fewer beds were needed if it was acceptable for demand to exceed supply 18 days/year, versus 4 days/year; and (3) 13–36 percent fewer beds were needed if hospitals within a region could effectively share ICU beds.

Conclusions: Compared to using yearly averages, analyzing day-to-day fluctuations in patient census gives a more accurate picture of ICU bed use. Failing to provide adequate “surge capacity” can lead to demand that frequently and severely exceeds supply.

back to top | back to article index | access/purchase full article

Copyright© 2018, Health Research & Educational Trust. All rights reserved. Content Disclaimer
Health Research & Educational Trust, 155 North Wacker, 4th Floor Chicago, IL 60606 (312) 422.2600