13.2% of COVID-19 infections led to readmissions, study finds

Over 13 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations lead to readmission and emergency department visits after 30 days, with more than a quarter being potentially preventable, according to a study published in the November 2021 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

Researchers studied 576 adult COVID-19 patients admitted to an academic medical center between March 21 and June 29, 2020, and identified those who required readmission following discharge.

Key findings: 

  • Out of the 576 patients, 76 (13.2) percent had an unplanned hospital revisit within 30 days of discharge, including 21 (3.6 percent) emergency department visits without admission and 55 (9.5 percent) readmissions. 

  • Of the 55 readmissions, 5 (9.1 percent) died in the hospital or were discharged to inpatient hospice, and 5 (9.1 percent) were readmitted twice in the 30-day period.

  • The most common diagnosis at revisit was worsening or persistent COVID-19 (11.8 percent), bacterial pneumonia (7.9 percent), and urinary tract infection (6.6 percent).

  • The top five contributing factors to readmissions were: patient/caregiver misunderstanding of the discharge medication, inappropriate choice of discharge location, inadequate treatment of medical conditions, discharge without needed procedure and patient discharged too soon.

Generalizability of results due to the location of the study, inability to determine readmission to other hospitals or death during follow-up period and inability to exclude admission diagnosis unrelated to COVID-19 with initial positive test were noted as limitations to the study.

Read the full study here


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