WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) --Being black and/or being
on Medicaid significantly increases the likelihood that
hospitalized patients will be readmitted to the hospital within a
month of their initial release, new research reveals.
Re-hospitalization risk also goes up among patients taking
high-risk medications and those struggling with specific health
issues, including congestive heart failure, kidney disease, cancer,
weight loss and iron deficiency anemia, the study authors
The findings are published in the October issue of the
Journal of Hospital Medicine.
"Many health-care systems are now making efforts to improve the transition from hospital to home or nursing facility to try to reduce preventable readmissions, but they need to know which patients to focus on to have the biggest impact," study author Dr. Nazima Allaudeen, from the University of California, San Francisco, noted in a press release from the publisher. "Studies like ours should give practitioners direction to non-clinical factors to identify."
About 20 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted to a
hospital within 30 days of being released, the study authors
Their observations are gleaned from an analysis of readmission
statistics concerning 6,805 patients who were seen 10,359 times at
UCSF hospitals between 2006 and 2008.
The authors found that 17 percent of the total admissions were
readmissions, and almost half of these readmissions took place
within 10 days of the patient's initial hospital release.
A second, much smaller study published in the same journal found
that the largest predictor of patient readmission was a diagnosis
of a chronic disease. But more surprisingly, according to a
research team from the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in
Australia, body mass index also played a key role.
Underweight and obese patients faced a higher risk for
readmission within six months of initial release, with 72 percent
of the former and 50 percent of the latter readmitted in that
time-frame (compared with just 27 percent of normal weight patients
and 37 percent of overweight patients).
Being depressed was also linked to a higher risk for quick
readmission, the research team observed.
The Brisbane researchers based their findings on detailed
clinical assessments of more than 140 patients over the age of 50
who had been hospitalized at least twice within a six-month period
between 2006 and 2007.
For more on hospital admission trends, visit the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and