Older Americans are significantly more likely to be readmitted to a hospital quickly if they live alone, lack self-management skills, have limited education, or do not receive the help they need for daily living functions, according to analysis of recent Medicare data.
Early hospital readmissions comprise almost 10 percent of Medicare inpatient hospital expenditures. This study looked at 2001 and 2002 nationwide Medicare data to determine whether certain post-discharge and socioeconomic factors could help identify patients most at-risk for early readmission. Patients included in the national sample all lived in the general community and were hospitalized, discharged home and survived at least one year.
Armed with these insights, professionals may be able to identify individuals at-risk for early readmission and create better post-discharge care plans to improve transitional care and keep patients out of the hospital. Additional avenues for research include studying interventions that address possible underlying patient needs reflected in these factors.