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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2013 Sep-Oct;57(2):172-6. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Reducing avoidable hospital admission in older people: health status, frailty and predicting risk of ill-defined conditions diagnoses in older people admitted with collapse.

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Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.


Emergency hospital admissions for patients with ill-defined conditions International Classification of Diseases-10 R codes (ICD-10 R codes) are rising. Policy literature has suggested that they are attributable to 'social' problems and could potentially be avoided yet there is no research evidence to support this view. Therefore, this study sought to describe patients with ill-defined conditions and determine clinical and demographic factors predicting assignment of such codes. Patients aged over 70 admitted to a hospital acute admissions unit with collapse or falls were recruited in one hospital. Measures of functional status, frailty, depression, routine blood tests, demographic and service use data were collected. 80 patients were recruited, 35 were discharged with ill-defined conditions codes. Functional limitations were common in patients with ill-defined conditions and 77% had frailty. Blood profiles did not indicate acute medical problems. Deprivation was the only significant independent predictor of assignment of ill-defined conditions codes at discharge (OR 0.64, 95% CI: 0.45-0.93). Whilst our data confirm policy suppositions that patients with ill-defined conditions have functional impairment and frailty, it is the social and organisational factors that are important in determining risk of ill-defined conditions rather than clinical indicators.

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