Three hundred sixty-three patients representing two groups of consecutive medical admissions to a large city hospital were evaluated on admission to determine what factors might predict "non-medical" or social stay. Periodic follow-up determined when patients were ready for discharge and when their social stay began. A composite index, the 4-Score, was derived as a simple indicator of risk for subsequent social stay; it is defined as the number of positive answers to the questions: 1) Is the patient 80 years old or more? 2) Will the patient have to live somewhere new at discharge? 3) Is there any disorientation? AND 4) If so, is the disorientation chronic? Eighteen per cent of the total inpatient hospital days of this group of patients could be attributed to social stay. The 56 patients with a 4-Score of two or more on admission had on average a week each of social stay while the 307 patients with a score of less than two averaged only one social day each.
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