Readmissions: a primary care examination of reasons for readmission of older people and possible readmission risk factors

J Clin Nurs. 2006 May;15(5):599-606. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2006.01333.x.


Aim: To identify the reasons that may have contributed to the emergency readmission of older people to a medical unit, within 28 days of hospital discharge.

Background: The current UK Government has initiatives in place to monitor quality and service delivery of NHS organizations. This is achieved by setting, delivering and monitoring standards, one of which is 'emergency readmission to hospital within 28 days of discharge (all ages), as a percentage of live discharges'.

Design/method: A year-long study examined reasons for unplanned readmission of patients (aged 77 and over) within 28 days of hospital discharge. The population was patients, registered with North Bradford PCT General Practitioners, readmitted to one of five care of older people wards in two local acute trust NHS hospitals. Patient records were scrutinized and data related to demography, diagnosis and readmission were collected using a structured extraction tool. Data analysis was undertaken using descriptive statistics and identification of differences and correlations within the data.

Results: A pilot study indicated patients readmitted from home vs. other sources and patients discharged to home vs. other sources had a significantly shorter stay on readmission. The main study showed other significant findings. Patients who lived in care were readmitted sooner than those who lived at home: those discharged home vs. other sources and agreeing to increased social service provision had longer stays on readmission. Shorter length of stay on index admission (up to 72 hours) was associated with increased likelihood of earlier readmission.

Conclusions: A framework of factors was identified and could be used to target resources to meet patients' needs more flexibly.

Relevance to clinical practice: It is possible that the process of targeting resources to 'at-risk' patients might enable services to be delivered in a more cost-efficient and cost-effective way.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Needs Assessment
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Work / organization & administration
  • State Medicine / organization & administration
  • Time Factors