Interventions to Reduce Hospital Readmissions in Older African Americans: A Systematic Review of Studies Including African American Patients

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2022 Aug 1;10.1007/s40615-022-01378-4. doi: 10.1007/s40615-022-01378-4. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: This systematic review aims to summarize interventions that effectively reduced hospital readmission rates for African Americans (AAs) aged 65 and older.

Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed for this review. Studies were identified by searching PubMed for clinical trials on reducing hospital readmission among older patients published between 1 January 1990 and 31 January 2020. Eligibility criteria for the included studies were mean or median age ≥ 65 years, AAs included in the study, randomized clinical trial or quasi-experimental design, presence of an intervention, and hospital readmission as an outcome.

Results: There were 5270 articles identified and 11 were included in the final review based on eligibility criteria. The majority of studies were conducted in academic centers, were multi-center trials, and included over 200 patients, and 6-90% of participants were older AAs. The length of intervention ranged from 1 week to over a year, with readmission assessed between 30 days and 1 year. Four studies which reported interventions that significantly reduced readmissions included both inpatient (e.g., discharge planning prior to discharge) and outpatient care components (e.g., follow-ups after discharge), and the majority used a multifaceted approach.

Conclusion: Findings from the review suggest successful interventions to reduce readmissions among AAs aged 65 and older should include inpatient and outpatient care components at a minimum. This systematic review showed limited evidence of interventions successfully decreasing readmission in older AAs, suggesting a need for research in the area to reduce readmission disparities and improve overall health.

Keywords: African American; Black; Clinical trials; Elderly; Intervention; Older adults; Readmission.

Publication types

  • Review