A day hospital is an outpatient facility where patients attend for assessment, treatment or rehabilitation during the day and then return home or spend the night at a different facility.[1] Day hospitals are becoming a new trend in healthcare.[2] The number of surgical procedures carried out on a same-day basis has markedly increased in EU countries and USA. New medical technologies such as less invasive surgeries and better anesthetics have made this development possible. These innovations improve patient safety and health outcomes. Shortening the length of stay in hospital reduces the cost per intervention and increases the number of procedures performed. Less hospital beds are necessary, and they are often replaced by day hospital chairs that enable admission and preparation of the patient before surgery and recovery after surgery.

The patient groups most likely to receive this sort of hospital provision are elderly people, those with psychiatric problems, and those with physical rehabilitative needs. It is also used for some cancer treatments, as at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and London's UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, day hospitals originated in the late 1950s with a focus on rehabilitation for frail older people, enabling many to remain in their own homes.[3] Comprehensive assessment and a range of specialised services have since been introduced. Day hospitals in the UK are normally run by an NHS trust and focus on therapeutic assessment and management, as distinct from "day care" facilities run by local authorities or voluntary agencies and offering social support. They may operate on a sessional basis rather than throughout the day, and may rotate between locations from day to day.[4]

Benefits have been identified in reduced rates of mortality and morbidity[5] and reduced inpatient admissions, although there is a lack of evidence for other benefits and cost-effectiveness.[6][7]

United States

Day hospital services are well established in the United States.[8] These services may be termed as "partial hospitalization" in some regions.[4]


Day hospital services for elderly people have existed in Sweden since the early 1950s and continue to expand, with 1,600 places in the country. Day hospitals are integrated with primary health care and social care.[9]


In Australia, many older people receive care in day hospitals, but for patients with psychiatric conditions day hospitals have largely been superseded by community mental health teams.[10]


  1. ^ "day hospital". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Surgical operations and procedures statistics". Archived from the original on 2018-04-15.
  3. ^ Susan Marie Friedman (1992). The development of geriatric day hospitals in Great Britain and the United States. Northwestern University, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine.
  4. ^ a b Wilson, Kenneth (August 2008). "The Changing Face Of Day Hospitals For Older People With Mental Illness" (PDF). Royal College of Psychiatrists. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 24, 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Day Hospitals for Older People". British Geriatrics Society. 26 November 2009. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  6. ^ Shek E, Stein AT, Shansis FM, Marshall M, Crowther R, Tyrer P (7 October 2009). "Day hospital versus outpatient care for people with schizophrenia". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4): CD003240. doi:10.1002/14651858. hdl:2328/35732. PMC 7003561. PMID 19821303.
  7. ^ Brown L, Forster A, Young J, Crocker T, Benham A, Langhorne P. "Medical day hospital care for older people versus alternative forms of care". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD001730. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001730.pub3
  8. ^ Harriet S. Gill; Daniel B. Walter; American Hospital Association (1996). The day hospital model of care for patients with medical and rehabilitative needs. American Hospital Association.
  9. ^ M. Bergener; B. Kark (7 March 2013). Tagesklinische Behandlung im Alter / Day Hospital Care of the Elderly. Springer-Verlag. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-3-642-72358-2.
  10. ^ Gerard J. Byrne; Christine C. Neville (2010). Community Mental Health for Older People. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7295-7899-8.