Readmission risk jumps 2.9% for every day spent in rural hospital

Healthcare facilities located in rural cities across southern Appalachia demonstrate readmission rates well above the national average, in part due to increased length of stays and a patient population with a history of smoking and multiple comorbidities, according to a study published in CHEST Journal.

Here are four things to know:

1. Researchers reviewed 15,500 patient files for individuals admitted to hospitals in the southern Appalachia region from Jan. 1, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2017. To determine readmission rates, researchers used univariate analyses and regression modeling to assess the causes of frequent readmissions, considering variables such as length of stay, age, gender and comorbidities.

2. The study authors found the likelihood of readmission increased by 2.9 percent for every day spent in these hospitals.

3. Former smokers were more likely than those who never smoked to be readmitted to the hospitals. If patients were provided with smoking cessation education upon their discharge, the readmission rate decreased.

4. Patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, psychiatric disorders and chronic renal failure also demonstrated an increased readmission risk.

"Some methods to prevent readmissions are decreasing length of stay, discharging patients before 1300, providing smoking cessation education and controlling comorbid diagnoses," lead study author Christine A. Moore, MD, said in a press release.

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