Objectives: Hospitalization of nursing home residents is a growing, poorly defined problem. The purposes of this study were to define rates, patterns, costs, and outcomes of hospitalizations from nursing homes and to consider implications for reducing this problem as part of health care reform.
Methods: Communitywide nursing home utilization review and hospital discharge data were used to define retrospectively a cohort of 2120 patients newly admitted to nursing homes; these patients were followed for 2 years to identify all hospitalizations. Resident characteristics were analyzed for predictors of hospitalization. Charges and outcomes were compared with hospitalization of community-dwelling elders.
Results: Hospitalization rates were strikingly higher for intermediate vs skilled levels of care (566 and 346 per 1000 resident years, respectively). Approximately 40% of all hospitalizations occurred within 3 months of admission. No strong predictors were identified. Length of stay, charges, and mortality rates were higher than for hospitalizations from the community.
Conclusions: Hospitalizations from nursing homes are not easily predicted but may in large part be prevented through health care reforms that integrate acute and longterm care.