research shows that age, race, employment status, living situation, and education
and income levels are just some of the factors that may play a role in hospital
readmissions. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is
not taking these causes into account in its readmissions reduction program,
which started penalizing hospitals October 1 for excessive readmissions, says
an article by Reuters News.
In the study,
published in Journal of General Internal
Medicine, researchers analyzed data from 20 studies on pneumonia and 52 on
For pneumonia patients, among the factors linked to the risk of being
readmitted to the hospital were being older and not white. Having a low level
of education, low income, and being unemployed also were tied to a higher risk
of going back into the hospital.
For heart failure patients, the risk of being readmitted to a hospital was associated
with being elderly, African American, or Hispanic.
The researchers cannot say for certain that the risk factors identified are
what cause a patient to be readmitted to the hospital. But they note in their
report that this kind of information could be used by physicians, case
managers, and discharge planners "to flag patients at high risk of
readmission because of certain nonmedical vulnerabilities," says Reuters.
Visit APTA's hospital readmissions webpage for information
about how physical therapists can help reduce readmissions by providing recommendations for the most appropriate level of care to the health
care team prior to and during care transitions.
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