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20% rise in hospital readmissions

The Nuffield Trust finds 19% rise in patients being readmitted within 30 days of discharge

Published on 5th June 2018

There has been a rise of almost 20% in patients being readmitted to hospital in an emergency within 30 days of discharge, research has revealed.

The Nuffield Trust think tank research shows a 19% rise in patients being readmitted to hospital in an emergency within 30 days of discharge between 2010/11 and 2016/17. The analysis aims to highlight where improved quality of care in hospital or the community might have prevented readmission.

Director of Research at the Nuffield Trust, Professor John Appleby said: “Unnecessary trips and overnight stays in hospital put a strain on elderly patients and their families. That is why it’s concerning that our research shows the number of people being readmitted to hospital within 30 days with potentially preventable conditions is greater than it was seven years ago.”

The new findings from QualityWatch, a the research programme from the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, looked at hospital data detailing patient diagnoses and the reasons behind emergency hospital readmissions between 2010/11 and 2016/17.

The analysis also showed a 41.3% rise in emergency readmissions for conditions they classify as “potentially preventable” which includes readmissions for patients with pneumonia, pressure sores and venous thromboembolism (VTE) that patients were not diagnosed with when they were first admitted to hospital.

The research highlights:

  • Patients readmitted to hospital in an emergency with pneumonia increased from 41,003 in 2010/11 to 70,731 in 2016/17, an increase of 72.5%. The increase in pneumonia readmissions was greater than the overall increase in pneumonia cases.
  • Emergency readmissions for pressure sores almost trebled from 7,787 in 2010/11 to 22,448 in 2016/17. The increase in the number of patients being readmitted with a pressure sore superseded the overall increase in the number of pressure sore diagnoses in hospital.
  • The number of patients readmitted with venous thromboembolism grew by a third, from 16,890 in 2010/11 to 23,006 in 2016/17.

 

According to the author, these findings should raise questions about the quality of care that our elderly population are receiving during their hospital stay, how they are discharged from hospital and the quality of community and social care services.

Briefing author Jessica Morris, Research Analyst at the Nuffield Trust said: “Emergency readmissions to hospital, for conditions that were not diagnosed during their first visit, are potentially a warning sign that a patient’s quality of care may have been compromised.

“The findings provide local health providers with a good opportunity to sit up and focus their attention and quality improvement initiatives on the three conditions where we’ve seen the most significant rise in readmissions,” she concluded.

Emergency readmissions Trends in emergency readmissions to hospital in England.

 

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