Daily inpatient census refers to the number of inpatients present within a hospital facility or hospital unit at the time the census is being taken, a task which is normally done daily at midnight in majority of the hospitals. In addition, it includes any patients who were admitted and discharged within the 24 hours between one census taking time and the next (Koch, 2008, p.67). Therefore, computation of the daily inpatient census is done using the following formula:
Daily inpatient census= The total number of patients at midnight of the census day+ A&Ds for that day( the patients admitted and discharged after the previous day’s census taking time and the next day’s census taking time) (American Health Information Association, n.d.) .
The formula applied in calculating the total number of patients present within the hospital facility at midnight is as shown below:
Number of patients present at midnight or the census calculation time= Total number of patients present as at midnight of the previous day otherwise termed the inpatient census-number of patient discharged in a span of 24 hours counted from the previous midnight + number of patients admitted within 24 hours and who will in addition spend the night in the hospital (Osborn, 2007, p.8; Koch, 2008, p.70).
2. Why is this formula the best choice in this case scenario?
The above formula is the most appropriate in this case scenario because it factors in the various details provided that is the number of new admissions, number of discharges and the previous days inpatient census (the number of patients present during the census taking time of the day before). The formula is further cognizant of the fact that patient discharge days are not part and parcel of inpatient service days. Moreover, it factors in the patients who are admitted and discharged within the 24 hour span from the previous midnight, details of which have also been provided.
3. Apply the formula and calculate the daily inpatient census.
Daily inpatient census as of midnight May 2
Number of inpatients at the University Hospital as of midnight May 1 268
+Number of patients admitted on the 2nd of May +16
-Number of patients discharged on the 2nd of May -9
Total number of patients in the hospital as at the midnight of May 2 275
+ Number of patients who were admitted and discharged within the 24 hours
starting from the prior day’s census taking time +2
Daily inpatient census as of midnight of 2nd May 277
Total inpatient service days for May 2 277
4. Apply the formula and calculate the inpatient service days.
Inpatient service days denote a unit of measure used in reference to the services received by a single inpatient within one 24 hour period. It is normally calculated as one service day for each and every patient treated within the span of 24 hours. Therefore, the number of inpatient service days is the same as the daily inpatient census (Koch, 2008, p.68).
Daily inpatient census= inpatient service days within span of 24 hours=277
5. Explain how a hospital can use census and occupancy rates for short term and long term planning.
Census and occupancy data can be utilized to plan for the number of staff required in the hospital so as to ensure there is an optimal patient to staff ratio. In essence therefore, such data is crucial during both short-term and long-term planning of human resource activities such as scheduling and job recruitment exercises. Further, census data for individual units can be used by hospital administrators in their efforts to prioritize and plan for the kind of services to be offered at the hospital more so when planning for the services that are most needed by the hospitalized patients. For instance, a hospital which was previously not offering intensive care services may consider starting to offer them if it comes to the management’s attention that a good number of their patients require these services and are currently being referred to other hospitals (Horton, 2004).
Additionally, the data is useful when doing both short-term and long term-planning in regard to the processes of budgeting for hospital expenditures and revenues for instance, if the hospital at any one time has 200 patients, the management will be able to predict albeit with some degree of precision the maintenance costs to be incurred like paying of wages and salaries to staff, buying essential supplies like drugs as well as the amount of revenue to be expected. Data on occupancy also comes in handy for administrators as they plan for future expansion of the hospital facilities whereby such data serves as a guide as to which areas to be expanded for instance, if the general trend indicates that the number of inpatients in the pediatric ward is gradually increasing the hospital administration may initiate plans to increase the number of beds and staff within this unit (Horton, 2004).
American Health Information Association (n.d.). Calculating and reporting health care
statistics (2nd ed.). Retrieved from
Horton, L.A. (2004). Calculating and reporting health care statistics. Retrieved from
Koch, G. (2008). Basic Allied Health Statistics and analysis (3rd ed.). New York, NY:
Delmar Cengage learning.
Osborn, C.E. (2007).Basic statistics for health information management technology.
Massachusetts, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.