Predicting Hospital Resource Use During COVID-19 Surges: A Simple but Flexible Discretely Integrated Condition Event Simulation of Individual Patient-Hospital Trajectories



To assist with planning hospital resources, including critical care (CC) beds, for managing patients with COVID-19.


An individual simulation was implemented in Microsoft Excel using a discretely integrated condition event simulation. Expected daily cases presented to the emergency department were modeled in terms of transitions to and from ward and CC and to discharge or death. The duration of stay in each location was selected from trajectory-specific distributions. Daily ward and CC bed occupancy and the number of discharges according to care needs were forecast for the period of interest. Face validity was ascertained by local experts and, for the case study, by comparing forecasts with actual data.


To illustrate the use of the model, a case study was developed for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust. They provided inputs for January 2020 to early April 2020, and local observed case numbers were fit to provide estimates of emergency department arrivals. A peak demand of 467 ward and 135 CC beds was forecast, with diminishing numbers through July. The model tended to predict higher occupancy in Level 1 than what was eventually observed, but the timing of peaks was quite close, especially for CC, where the model predicted at least 120 beds would be occupied from April 9, 2020, to April 17, 2020, compared with April 7, 2020, to April 19, 2020, in reality. The care needs on discharge varied greatly from day to day.


The DICE simulation of hospital trajectories of patients with COVID-19 provides forecasts of resources needed with only a few local inputs. This should help planners understand their expected resource needs.


J. Jaime Caro Jörgen Möller Vatshalan Santhirapala Harpreet Gill Jessica Johnston Kariem El-Boghdadly Ramai Santhirapala Paul Kelly Alistair McGuire

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