The Impact of Non-English Language Preference on Pediatric Hospital Outcomes

Mary Pilarz*, Giselle Rodriguez, Kathryn Jackson, Victoria A. Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To characterize the relationship between non-English language preference (NELP) and hospital outcomes including length of stay (LOS), time of discharge, emergency department return visits, readmissions, and cost for pediatric general medicine inpatients. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis at an urban, quaternary care, free-standing children's hospital. Patients ages 0 to 18 admitted to any general medicine service between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2019 were included. Patients were divided into 3 language preference categories: English, Spanish, and non-Spanish NELP. Single and multifactor regression analysis was used to model differences in outcome measures by language preference adjusted for technology dependence. RESULTS: A total of 4820 patients met criteria. In adjusted models, the average LOS for English-speaking patients was 126 hours; LOS for patients who preferred Spanish was not significantly different, whereas LOS for patients with non-Spanish NELP was 50% longer (P < .001). English-speaking patients were discharged earliest in the day (mean 3:08 PM), with patients who preferred Spanish discharged 0.5 hours later and patients with non-Spanish NELP discharged 1.1 hours later than English-speaking patients (P < .001). Patients with NELP were found to be technology-dependent more frequently (P < .001) than the English preference group. Emergency department return visits, readmissions, and cost were not significantly different between groups. CONCLUSIONS: NELP was associated with longer length of stay and discharges later in the day. The most pronounced differences occurred in patients with non-Spanish NELP who also had more frequent technology dependence and more limited access to interpreters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-249
Number of pages6
JournalHospital Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pediatrics


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