J Investig Med. 2021 Nov 30:jim-2021-001986. doi: 10.1136/jim-2021-001986. Online ahead of print.
Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 must have a safe discharge plan to prevent readmissions. We assessed patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals belonging to a single health system between April 2020 and June 2020. Demographics, vitals and laboratory data were obtained by electronic data query and discharge processes were reviewed by manual abstraction. Over the study period, 94 out of 912 (10.3%) patients were readmitted within 14 days of discharge. Readmitted patients were older and spent more time in the intensive care unit (p<0.01). Statistical differences were noted in discharge-day heart rates, temperatures, platelet counts, and neutrophil and lymphocyte percentages between the readmitted and non-readmitted groups. Readmitted patients were less likely to be discharged home and to receive complete discharge instructions or home oxygen (p<0.01). Age, duration of intensive care unit stay, disposition destinations other than home, incomplete discharge planning and no arrangement for home oxygen may be associated with 14-day readmissions in patients with COVID-19. Certain clinical parameters on discharge day, while statistically different, may not reach clinically discriminant thresholds. Structured discharge processes may improve outcomes.