May 29, 2019
Fall-related injuries are a leading cause of 30-day hospital readmissions among older adults, particularly those with a previous fall-related injury or cognitive impairment. Researchers published their findings online in JAMA Network Open.
“To avoid penalties and improve care, postdischarge fall prevention protocols should be investigated as a new way to prevent readmissions, especially among the patients in these acute geriatric cohorts,” researchers wrote. “Older patients with a previous fall, cognitive impairment, or both may need more specific, targeted interventions than those they are at present receiving.”
The study looked at unplanned readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge for 8.3 million Medicare beneficiaries. Among them, 14.4% had a readmission.
Fall-related injuries were the third most common readmission diagnosis overall, according to the study, constituting 5.1% of readmission diagnoses.
For older adults with a fall-related injury diagnosis during their previous hospital admission and for those with cognitive impairment, injuries from a fall were the second most common diagnosis at readmission. When those patients were discharged home or to home health care, fall-related injuries became the leading readmission diagnosis.
“Therefore,” researchers wrote, “attention to improving instrumental support for patients transitioning from hospital to home may be of heightened priority.”