Think you’re safe and sound once you’ve been released from the hospital? Think again. Several recently released studies have found an alarming trend that appears to be occurring among individuals seeking medical treatment: post-operative readmission.
One study found that within 30 days of being discharged, 1 in 12 patients were readmitted to an inpatient hospital bed. This analysis, conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information concluded that over 180,000 Canadian patients were readmitted as a result of unforeseen circumstances in 2010. The most common causes for readmission were surgical wound infections, severe pain, and heart failure. For pediatric patients, the most common causes of hospital readmission included respiratory infection and pneumonia. Among surgical patients, it was found that nearly 1 in 10 patients were brought back to the hospital as a result of post-operative infection, commonly caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA. The findings among obstetric patients were even more startling: approximately 1 in every 4 patients were readmitted due to infection following a Caesarean section.
Socioeconomic factors found to be influential in this study included neighborhood income and location: individuals from lower-income areas, as well as those from rural areas, tended to face a higher risk of readmission. Another important factor for readmission found in this study was length of stay: those that deviated from the expected length of stay were found to be predictors for readmission. Other factors included age, preexisting conditions, and gender—male patients were slightly more likely to be readmitted than female patients.