Social, Economic, Personal-Care Factors Play Role in Readmission Risk

Social, Economic, Personal-Care Factors Play Role in Readmission Risk

Hospitals find that social determinants of health and disability raise readmission risk.

Once a patient is released from a hospital, the caretakers do not want to see that patient back for a while. In fact, the Medicare system has started penalizing hospitals with the highest readmission rates for certain conditions. But a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine suggests that these penalties should not be one-size-fits-all.

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A recent study focused on three conditions: heart failure, pneumonia or a heart attack. The findings of the study include:

  • Pneumonia patients who already had trouble with multiple tasks like getting dressed or cooking food, or who needed paid help at home, before their hospital stay were the most likely of all pneumonia patients to be readmitted in the first 30 days after a hospitalization
  • Heart failure functional difficulty didn’t matter as much as money, family and race. Those who had a higher wealth level or adult children had a much lower chance of readmission – while simply being African American increased the risk of another hospital stay.
  • Heart attack: the most important factors boosting their chance of readmission were whether they had been in a nursing home before their hospital stay, and whether their hospital cared for a high percentage of minority patients.

Read the full article here.

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