Measuring the impact of care complexity on health outcomes, based on psychosocial, biological and environmental circumstances, is important in order to detect predictors of early deterioration of inpatients. We aimed to identify care complexity individual factors associated with selected adverse events and in-hospital mortality.
A multicenter, case-control study was carried out at eight public hospitals in Catalonia, Spain, from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017. All adult patients admitted to a ward or a step-down unit were evaluated. Patients were divided into the following groups based on the presence or absence of three adverse events (pressure ulcers, falls or aspiration pneumonia) and in-hospital mortality. The 28 care complexity individual factors were classified in five domains (developmental, mental-cognitive, psycho-emotional, sociocultural and comorbidity/complications). Adverse events and complexity factors were retrospectively reviewed by consulting patients’ electronic health records. Multivariate logistic analysis was performed to identify factors associated with an adverse event and in-hospital mortality.
A total of 183,677 adult admissions were studied. Of these, 3,973 (2.2%) patients experienced an adverse event during hospitalization (1,673 [0.9%] pressure ulcers; 1,217 [0.7%] falls and 1,236 [0.7%] aspiration pneumonia). In-hospital mortality was recorded in 3,996 patients (2.2%). After adjustment for potential confounders, the risk factors independently associated with both adverse events and in-hospital mortality were: mental status impairments, impaired adaptation, lack of caregiver support, old age, major chronic disease, hemodynamic instability, communication disorders, urinary or fecal incontinence, vascular fragility, extreme weight, uncontrolled pain, male sex, length of stay and admission to a medical ward. High-tech hospital admission was associated with an increased risk of adverse events and a reduced risk of in-hospital mortality. The area under the ROC curve for both outcomes was > 0.75 (95% IC: 0.78-0.83).
Several care complexity individual factors were associated with adverse events and in-hospital mortality. Prior identification of complexity factors may have an important effect on the early detection of acute deterioration and on the prevention of poor outcomes.