Intern Med J. 2021 May 25. doi: 10.1111/imj.15395. Online ahead of print.
AIMS: To determine the prevalence, characteristics and risk factors associated with frequent readmissions to an internal medicine service at a tertiary public hospital.
METHOD: A retrospective observational study was conducted at an internal medicine service in a tertiary teaching hospital between 1st January 2010 and the 30th June 2016. Frequent readmission was defined as four or more readmissions within 12 months of discharge from the index admission. Demographic and clinical characteristics, and potential risk factors were evaluated.
RESULTS: 50 515 patients were included, 1657 (3.3%) had frequent readmissions and were associated with nearly 2.5 times higher in 12-month mortality rates. They were older, had higher rates of Indigenous Australians (3.2%), more disadvantaged status (Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage decile of 5.3), and more comorbidities (mean Charlson comorbidity index 1.4) in comparison, to infrequent readmission group. The mean length of hospital stay during the index admission was 6 days for frequent readmission group (21.4% staying more than 7 days) with higher incidence of discharge against medical advice (2.0% higher). Intensive care unit admission rate was 6.6% for frequent readmission group compared to 3.9% for infrequent readmission group. Multivariate analysis showed mental disease and disorders, neoplastic, and alcohol/drug use and alcohol/drug induced organic mental disorders are associated with frequent readmission.
CONCLUSION: The risk factors associated with frequent readmission were older age, indigenous status, being socially disadvantaged, having higher comorbidities, and discharging against medical advice. Conditions that lead to frequent readmissions were mental disorders, alcohol/drug use and alcohol/drug induced organic mental disorders, and neoplastic disorders.