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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Feb;62(2):291-8. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12656. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

Influence of frailty-related diagnoses, high-risk prescribing in elderly adults, and primary care use on readmissions in fewer than 30 days for veterans aged 65 and older.

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Veterans Evidence-Based Research, Dissemination, and Implementation Center, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, Texas; Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, Texas; Division of Hospital Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.



To determine the effect of two variables not previously studied in the readmissions literature (frailty-related diagnoses and high-risk medications in the elderly (HRME)) and one understudied variable (volume of primary care visits in the prior year).


Retrospective cohort study using data from a study designed to examine outcomes associated with inappropriate prescribing in elderly adults.


All Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities with acute inpatient beds in fiscal year 2006 (FY06).


All veterans aged 65 and older by October 1, 2005, who received VA care at least once per year between October 1, 2004, and September 30, 2006, and were hospitalized at least once during FY06 on a medical or surgical unit.


A generalized linear interactive risk prediction model included demographic and clinical characteristics (mental health and chronic medical conditions, frailty-related diagnoses, number of medications) in FY05; incident HRME in FY06 before index hospitalization or readmission; chronic HRME in FY05; and FY05 emergency department (ED), hospital, geriatric, palliative, or primary care use. Facility-level variables were complexity, rural versus urban, and FY06 admission rate.


The mean adjusted readmission rate was 18.3%. The new frailty-related diagnoses variable is a risk factor for readmission in addition to Charlson comorbidity score. Incident HRME use was associated with lower rates of readmission, as were higher numbers of primary care visits in the prior year.


Frailty-related diagnoses may help to target individuals at higher risk of readmission to receive more-intensive care transition services. HRME use does not help in this targeting. A higher number of face-to-face primary care visits in the prior year, unlike ED and hospital use, correlates with fewer readmissions and may be another avenue for targeting prevention strategies.


early readmissions; frailty; high-risk prescribing in the elderly; primary care

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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