Background: Patient safety during the post-discharge period is a major public health concern. Racial differences on incidence and risk factors associated with post-discharge adverse events (AEs) are understudied. The aim of the study was to examine the differences on the incidence of post-discharge AEs and the associated risk factors between African American and Caucasian patients.
Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of patients at risk for post-discharge AEs from December 2011 to October 2012. We included 589 patients who were African American or Caucasian and discharged home from an urban community hospital. The patients spoke English and could be contacted after discharge for evaluation. Two nurses performed 30-day post-discharge telephone interviews, and two physicians adjudicated health records to determine AEs using a previously established methodology.
Results: African American patients had a slightly higher incidence of post-discharge AEs than Caucasian patients (30.6 vs. 29.9%), although the difference did not show statistical significance. The multivariable logistic regression model indicated that post-discharge AEs were associated with timely follow-up and the number of secondary discharge diagnoses. In subgroup analyses of the risk factors in each racial group separately, only timely follow-up ambulatory visits were associated with post-discharge AEs.
Conclusion: Post-discharge AEs were experienced by a large proportion of both African American and Caucasian patients, and there was no statistically significant difference in these proportions by race.
Keywords: Health disparity; Patient safety; Race; Transitional care.