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In a perfect world, an ill patient would recover in the hospital and return home as soon as possible. When they are medically stable and can leave the inpatient care setting, nothing is holding them back. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Even when patients are medically ready to return home, they end up waiting in the hospital longer. A prolonged hospital stay typically is described as a stay that persists for a certain number of days (often 10 days) past the patient’s geometric length of stay. The problem of prolonged hospital stays seems to be getting worse.

Improving Care for Long-Stay Patients