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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002 Feb;50(2):223-9.

Precipitants of emergency room visits and acute hospitalization in short-stay medicare nursing home residents.

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Center on Aging Research Section, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80206, USA.



To determine what precipitates rehospitalization for residents who become acutely ill in the first 90 days of a nursing home (NH) admission.


NH medical record review comparing acutely ill Medicare admissions transferred back to hospital with those not transferred.


Sixty skilled nursing facilities in five states during 1994.


Six hundred thirty-six residents who became acutely ill with urinary tract infection (UTI), pneumonia, or congestive heart failure (CHF) during the first 90 days of their nursing home admission were identified from 2,414 random NH Medicare admissions, excluding those with orders not to be hospitalized.


Diagnosis, age, gender, advance care directives, nursing shift during which problem occurred, comorbidity, symptoms, and signs of acutely ill NH residents transferred to the hospital or emergency department were compared with those not transferred.


Rates of hospitalization varied markedly by acute illness: 11 of residents with UTI, 46 with pneumonia, and 58 with an exacerbation of CHF (P< .001). In stratified multivariate analysis, older age decreased the odds of rehospitalization only for CHF. Male gender increased odds of hospitalization for pneumonia (odds ratio (OR) = 2.94) and decreased odds of hospitalization for CHF (OR = 0.28). Do not resuscitate orders were negatively associated with hospitalization only for pneumonia (OR = 0.23), whereas weekend and evening/night shifts increased odds of hospitalization for UTI. Each illness had its own set of symptoms, signs, and comorbidities associated with hospitalization.


Whether an acutely ill NH Medicare patient was rehospitalized depended primarily on the particular illness. The relative importance of age, gender, shift, advance care directives, symptom severity, signs, and comorbid illnesses varied by diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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