A study at the Health Centre for Children of the Vancouver General Hospital was undertaken to determine the need for alternative care facilities for a population of children in hospitals. The alternative facilities were a day-care medical unit, a short-stay surgical unit, an extended custodial unit, and a longer-stay rehabilitation unit. Predetermined criteria for the utilization of alternative facilities were prepared in advance.

Two thirds of the children in the hospital were found to require conventional hospital care. Nearly one quarter of the children required facilities for short-stay surgery, with admission and discharge the day of surgery. Day-care medical facilities were also required, but to a lesser extent (7%). A small number of children (3%) required the longstay facilities, and they occupied a disproportionately large number of conventional hospital days (20%). It was estimated that the availability of alternative facilities could result in a saving of approximately 27% of hospital days. The number of patients and days in the various alternative care patterns for the medical and surgical subspecialties were also studied.

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