To assess the effect of Saturday allied health services on a geriatric evaluation and management ward.
A controlled before-and-after trial at two wards. Allied health services were added to usual weekday staffing on Saturdays for 6 months on the experimental ward. Length of stay, functional independence, readmissions, discharge destination and costs were evaluated at pre-intervention (N = 331) and intervention (N = 462).
Relative to the comparison ward, the experimental ward had longer length of stay (mean 7.8 days, 95% CI 4.7-10.8), fewer readmissions (mean 3.1 days, 95% CI 0.6-5.7) and no difference in the proportion discharged home. Cost-effectiveness demonstrated no significant difference in cost ($2639, 95% CI $-386 to $5647) and functional independence gain (3.6 units, 95% CI 0.8-6.5) favouring the experimental ward.
These findings do not support the provision of additional Saturday allied health services in geriatric evaluation and management to reduce length of stay.