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Am J Nephrol. 2017;45(5):400-408. doi: 10.1159/000470917. Epub 2017 Apr 14.

Psychosocial Factors and 30-Day Hospital Readmission among Individuals Receiving Maintenance Dialysis: A Prospective Study.

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University of North Carolina Kidney Center, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.



Thirty-day hospital readmissions are common among maintenance dialysis patients. Prior studies have evaluated easily measurable readmission risk factors such as comorbid conditions, laboratory results, and hospital discharge day. We undertook this prospective study to investigate the associations between hospital-assessed depression, health literacy, social support, and self-rated health (separately) and 30-day hospital readmission among dialysis patients.


Participants were recruited from the University of North Carolina Hospitals, 2014-2016. Validated depression, health literacy, social support, and self-rated health screening instruments were administered during index hospitalizations. Multivariable logistic regression models with 30-day readmission as the dependent outcome were used to examine readmission risk factors.


Of the 154 participants, 58 (37.7%) had a 30-day hospital readmission. In unadjusted analyses, individuals with positive screening for depression, lower health literacy, and poorer social support were more likely to have a 30-day readmission (vs. negative screening). Positive depression screening and poorer social support remained significantly associated with 30-day readmission in models adjusted for race, heart failure, admitting service, weekend discharge day, and serum albumin: adjusted OR (95% CI) 2.33 (1.02-5.15) for positive depressive symptoms and 2.57 (1.10-5.91) for poorer social support. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of the multivariable model adjusted for social support status was significantly greater than the AUC of the multivariable model without social support status (test for equality; p value = 0.04).


Poor social support and depressive symptoms identified during hospitalizations may represent targetable readmission risk factors among dialysis patients. Our findings suggest that hospital-based assessments of select psychosocial factors may improve readmission risk prediction.


Depression; Dialysis; End-stage renal disease; Health literacy; Hospital readmission; Psychosocial factor; Social support

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