Background: Delivery of quality healthcare in resource-limited settings is an important, understudied public health priority. Thirty-day (early) hospital readmission is often avoidable and an important indicator of healthcare quality.
Methods: We investigated the prevalence of all-cause early readmission and its associated factors using age and sex adjusted risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). A retrospective review of the medical ward database at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi was conducted between February and December 2013.
Results: There were 3547 patients with an index admission of which 2776 (74.4%) survived and were eligible for readmission. Among these patients: 49.7% were male, mean age was 39.7 years, 36.1% were HIV-positive, 34.6% were HIV-negative, and 29.3% were HIV-unknown. The prevalence of early hospital readmission was 5.5%. Diagnoses associated with 30-day readmission were HIV-positive status (RR = 2.41; 95% CI: 1.64-3.53) and malaria (RR = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.22-0.91). Other factors associated with readmission were multiple diagnoses (excluding HIV) (RR = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.11-2.06), and prolonged length of stay (≥ 16 days) at the index hospitalization (RR = 3.63; 95% CI: 1.72-7.67).
Conclusion: Targeting HIV-infected inpatients with multiple diagnoses and longer index hospitalizations may prevent early readmission and improve quality of care.
Keywords: HIV; Malawi; Quality; Readmissions; Sub-Saharan Africa.