Majority of nursing home hospitalizations avoidable: study

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Three-fifths of long-stay nursing home hospitalizations could have been avoided, according to a new study.

The majority of the avoidable hospitalizations were for infections, injuries and congestive heart failure, researchers said. Institutions involved in the study were the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., and Abt Associates.

The study examined clinical risk factors, facility characteristics and state policy to determine their relationship to hospitalizations. Clinical risk factors included renal disease, diabetes and a high number of medications, among others.

Staffing, quality and reimbursement were also noted as potentially avoidable risk factors.

Risk identification emphasizes reimbursement potential and can help design clinical strategies to reduce hospitalizations, the researchers concluded.

Ten percent of certified nursing homes were surveyed. The study is in the August issue of Medical Care.