Readmission after Initial Injury Is Common


Clinical question: How frequently are patients readmitted after an initial inpatient stay for an injury, and what factors might predict readmission?

Background: Readmission to the hospital is a vexing healthcare problem prompting substantial investigation into factors that predict readmission after a medical or surgical illness. Data regarding readmission rates following injuries are lacking, as is our understanding of the factors that predict these readmissions.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Hospitals in 11 U.S. states participating in the 2006 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases and State Emergency Department Databases.

Synopsis: The authors studied more than 200,000 patients aged 65 and older admitted to the hospital with an injury. Fracture was the most common injury (75%) and falls were the most common mechanism of injury (75%). The overall 30-day readmission rate was 13.7%, or about 1 in 7, which is below the rate commonly seen with medical illnesses.

The most common reasons for readmission were surgery (7.4%) and pneumonia (7.2%). Factors that predicted readmission included an initially “moderate” or “severe” injury, as defined by the validated New Injury Severity Score, the need for blood transfusion during admission, the presence of an infection, and the occurrence of a patient safety event, such as a fall. Discharge to a nursing home was associated with increased risk for readmission.

Bottom line: Readmission after an acute injury is less common than after a medical illness but still occurred in 1 in 7 patients.

Citation: Spector WD, Mutter R, Owens P, Limcangco R. Thirty-day, all-cause readmissions for elderly patients who have an injury-related inpatient stay. Med Care. 2012;50:863-869.

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