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1.1   Background to the study

Hospital is an institution for the treatment, care, and cure of the sick and wounded, the study of disease, and the training of physicians, nurses, and allied health care personnel (Lippincott, and Wilkins, 2005). People that visit hospital for a particular treatment are called patients and the visit could be outpatient or in-patient. Out-patients are short visit to the hospital that last not more than a day, while in-patients are visit to the hospital that require at least one night stay in a ward (Henderson, 2013). Bed allocation is the management of all processes necessary to place a patient into an appropriate vacant bed in the hospital. There are many different types of hospital bed, reflecting differences in the kind of patient they are designed to accommodate. The processes taken into consideration include the admission of a patient, length of stay, type of specialist bed (if needed) and the pending discharge date (Nicholls and Young, 2007). Bed availability is significant as a bed can be viewed as “one of the most fundamental inputs in the provision of acute health care” (Nicholls and Young, 2007).

The management of available and appropriate beds and their occupancy levels in hospitals is an integral part of the economical and ethical management of health care (Nicholls and Young, 2007). One of the major problems within a hospital environment is dealing with the bottleneck of patient allocation and the availability of beds (Ward 2004).  Most times, poor bed allocation management occur as a result of shortage of bed spaces which can lead to cancellations of admissions for planned surgery, admission to inappropriate wards, delay in admitting emergency patients, and transfers of existing inpatients between wards thereby delaying their discharge which can cause enormous frustration and distress (Proudlove, Gordon and Boaden, 2003).

 Through increased public scrutiny there is also a greater degree of accountability required from health care professionals with regard to facilities management and information administration. Many hospitals in Nigeria and around the world are running at peak capacity which almost guarantees queuing in the emergency department for available beds and other critical inpatient services (Richardson 2003).

Hospital management and staff must find a balance between the demands for available beds and demands through the needs of continuous care of the patient and emergency. This necessitates the need for this topic which examines hospital bed space information management system using Barrau Dikko teaching hospital, Kaduna.

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