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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Michigan: Too Many Older Adults Readmitted to Hospitals with Same Infections They Took Home

About 15 percent of hospitalized older adults will be readmitted within a month of discharge. 

However, a new University of Michigan study found that a disproportionately high number return for preexisting, or linked infections — infections presumably treated during the first hospital stay. Further, patients discharged home or to home care were more likely to return with a linked infection than those discharged to skilled nursing homes.

“We found that as many as 5 percent of patients leaving the hospital with an infection have a readmission for that preexisting infection — that’s bad,” said study lead author Dr. Geoffrey Hoffman, assistant professor in the U-M School of Nursing. 

Dr. Hoffman and Dr. Lona Mody, professor of internal medicine and epidemiology, and colleagues examined Medicare records for more than 318,000 hospital discharges for patients 65 and older. They found that, overall, 2.5 percent of hospitalized older adults return because of linked infections. 

The most common infection was Clostridioides difficile (roughly 5 percent readmission), a potentially deadly germ that causes diarrhea and colitis, followed by urinary tract infections (2.4 percent readmission).

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