Hospitalizations and re-Hospitalizations

Factors Associated With Accelerated Hospitalization and Re-hospitalization Among Medicare Home Health Patients


Preventing hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations of older adults receiving Medicare home health (HH) services is a key goal for patients and care providers. This study aimed to identify factors related to greater risk of and earlier hospitalizations from HH, a key step in targeting preventive efforts.

Data come from Medicare mandated start-of-care assessments from 87,780 HH patients served by 132 agencies in 32 states, collected from January 2013 to March 2015. Using parametric accelerated failure time (AFT) survival models, we evaluated the association between key patient and environmental characteristics and the hazard of and time until hospitalization and re-hospitalization.

In total, 15,030 hospitalizations, including 6,539 re-hospitalizations, occurred in the sample within 60 days of start of HH. Factors most strongly associated with substantially greater risk of and earlier hospitalization included male gender, history of hospitalization, polypharmacy, elevated depressive symptoms, greater functional disability, primary diagnoses of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and urinary tract infection, and government-controlled agency care. In addition to these factors, black race and primary diagnosis of skin wounds were uniquely related to risk of earlier re-hospitalization.

Results suggest that factors collected during routine HH patient assessments can provide important information to predict risk of earlier hospitalization and re-hospitalization among Medicare HH patients. Identified factors can help identify patients at greatest risk of early hospitalization and may be important targets for agencies and care providers to prevent avoidable hospitalizations


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