Shorter stay in the hospital of people of about 65-years-old and older, is linked to quicker readmission to hospital within seven to 30 days from post-acute care facilities.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, suggested that older adults who are readmitted to hospitals within one week tend to have a heavier burden of chronic disease than who are not readmitted as quickly. According to researchers, more than 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who are admitted to the hospital are sent to a post-acute care facility - a health facility like a rehabilitation or skilled nursing center used instead of a hospital - after being discharged.
‘People whose initial hospital stays were shorter could have either been sicker when they were discharged or had insufficient time in the hospital to recover fully.’
However, more than 23 percent of these older adults face readmission to the hospital within 30 days and often within the first week. The study included 81,173 older adults, who experienced hospital readmissions from post-acute care facilities. The team studied information from people 65-years-old and older who were readmitted from post-acute care facilities for any cause within seven days after being discharged from the hospital. Then, the researchers compared their findings to data from older adults who were readmitted between eight to 30 days after their hospital discharge.
They discovered that older adults who are readmitted to hospitals within one week tend to have a heavier burden of chronic disease than people who aren't readmitted as quickly. They also learned that a shorter original stay in the hospital is linked to earlier readmission to the hospital. Other factors that influence a quicker readmission to the hospital include living in a rural area, having been originally admitted for a heart attack or pneumonia and having been discharged from smaller hospitals.
According to the researchers, these findings support the theory that older people may be discharged "quicker and sicker." They suggested that people whose initial hospital stays were shorter could have either been sicker when they were discharged or had insufficient time in the hospital to recover fully. The researchers suggested that hospital strategies that ensure older adults are healthy enough for discharge that could help prevent early hospital readmissions from post-acute care facilities.