April 17, 2024
Risks of Hospital Readmission in Older Americans Following Surgery

Risks of Hospital Readmission in Older Americans Following Surgery

A recent study conducted by Yale University has identified a heightened risk of hospital readmission for older Americans within 180 days of undergoing major surgery, especially among those who are frail or diagnosed with dementia. Published in the JAMA Network Open journal, the study sheds light on the short-term (within 30 days) and long-term (within 180 days) risks associated with hospital readmission for this demographic post-surgery.

The research, which focused on a group of 1,477 older Americans who underwent major surgery between 2011 and 2018 and were not residing in nursing homes, revealed that over a quarter (27.6%) experienced hospital readmission within 180 days, with nearly one in eight (11.6%) readmitted within 30 days. This study marks a significant step as prior data on longer-term readmission rates post-major surgery in older individuals were lacking.

Dr. Robert D. Becher, an associate professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine and co-senior author of the study, highlighted the growing population of older individuals undergoing major surgery and emphasized the high readmission rates observed in this demographic. The study also highlighted the alarming readmission rates among those with geriatric-specific conditions like frailty and dementia, with rates as high as 39% for patients with probable dementia.

Dr. Thomas M. Gill, the Humana Foundation Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Yale and co-senior author of the study, stressed the importance of identifying frailty and dementia preoperatively in older patients to manage postoperative care effectively and set realistic expectations for patients and their families.

The issue of hospital readmission is of significant concern within the U.S. healthcare system, with readmission costs exceeding $50 billion in 2018 alone. This financial burden is largely driven by the nearly 3.8 million 30-day hospital readmissions that year, predominantly involving Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older.

Dr. Becher emphasized the critical importance of maintaining independence and function among older adults with multiple health conditions, pointing out that hospital readmissions following major surgery can detrimentally impact these crucial aspects. The researchers plan to further investigate why vulnerable older individuals face higher readmission rates and propose strategies to minimize this risk in the future.

In conclusion, the study underscores the pressing need for tailored postoperative care and support for older Americans, particularly those with frailty and dementia, to reduce the incidence of hospital readmissions and enhance overall recovery outcomes following major surgery.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it