Int J Clin Pract. 2020 Sep 7:e13700. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13700. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Hospital readmissions are associated with poor patient outcomes and increased health resource utilization. The need to study readmission patterns is even bigger during a pandemic because the burden is further stretching the healthcare system.
METHODS: We reviewed the initial hospitalization and subsequent readmission for 19 patients with confirmed COVID-19 in the largest statewide hospital network in Rhode Island, US, from March 1st through April 19th , 2020. We also compared the characteristics and clinical outcomes between readmitted and non-readmitted patients.
RESULTS: Of the 339 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, 279 discharged alive. Among them, 19/279 were readmitted (6.8%) after a median of 5 days. There was a significantly higher rate of hypertension, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, liver disease, cancer, and substance abuse among the readmitted compared to non-readmitted patients. The most common reasons of readmissions happening within 12 days from discharge included respiratory distress and thrombotic episodes, while those happening at a later time included psychiatric illness exacerbations and falls. The length of stay during readmission was longer than during index admission and more demanding on healthcare resources.
CONCLUSION: Among hospitalized patients with COVID-19, those readmitted had a higher burden of comorbidities than the non-readmitted. Within the first 12 days from discharge, readmission reasons were more likely to be associated with COVID-19, while those happening later were related to other reasons. Readmissions characterization may help in defining optimal timing for patient discharge and ensuring safe care transition.