Factors predicting rehospitalization of elderly patients in a postacute skilled nursing facility rehabilitation program

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Oct;93(10):1808-13. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.04.018. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


Objective: To examine potential risk factors for rehospitalization of skilled nursing facility (SNF) rehabilitation patients.

Design: Retrospective review of rehabilitation charts.

Setting: SNF rehabilitation beds (n=114) at a 514-bed urban, academic nursing home that receives patients from tertiary care hospitals.

Participants: Consecutive rehabilitation patients (n=50) who were rehospitalized during days 4 to 30 of rehabilitation, compared with a matched group of rehabilitation patients (n=50) who were discharged without rehospitalization.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measure: Data on potential risk factors were collected: demographics, medical history, conditions associated with preceding hospitalization, and initial rehabilitation examination and laboratory values. The clinical conditions precipitating rehospitalizations were noted.

Results: Sixty-two percent of rehospitalizations were related to complications or recurrence of the same medical condition that was treated during the preceding hospitalization. The rehospitalized group had significantly more comorbidities including anemia (P=.001) and malignant solid tumors (P<.001), index hospitalizations involving a gastrointestinal condition (P=.001), needed more assistance with eating (P=.001) and walking (P=.03), and had lower hemoglobin (P=.002) and albumin levels (P<.001). A logistic regression model found that the strongest predictors for rehospitalization are a history of a malignant solid tumor (odds ratio [OR]=10.10), a recent hospitalization involving gastrointestinal conditions (OR=4.62), and a low serum albumin level (with each unit decrease in albumin, the odds of rehospitalization are 4 times greater [OR=.24, P=.005]).

Conclusions: Comorbid conditions, reasons for index hospitalization, and laboratory values are associated with an increased risk for rehospitalization. Further studies are needed to identify high-risk elderly patients and target interventions to minimize rehospitalizations.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Comorbidity
  • Episode of Care
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities*