Men are more likely than women to be readmitted to the hospital within a month after being discharged, according to a new study funded by AHRQ. The risk for returning to the hospital within 30 days is higher among men who are retired, unmarried, screen positive for depression or don’t visit a primary care physician for follow-up after their hospitalization, according to the study from researchers at Boston University School of Medicine. The article was published online in BMJ Open.
Returning to the hospital within 30 days following discharge occurs frequently and is often linked to complications and longer recovery times. Nearly one in five Medicare patients returned to the hospital within 30 days after discharge from 2003 to 2004 at an estimated yearly cost of $17.4 billion, a 2009 study concluded.
Previous research by the Boston University School of Medicine team found that hospital staff could lower the incidence of hospital readmission by 30 percent through specific, coordinated efforts, including providing clear instructions to patients about what they need to do once they leave the hospital and following up with patients after discharge. In the new study, the only risk factor that predicted whether men and women were likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days was whether they had been hospitalized in the previous 6 months.