Risk factors for hospital readmission following a stroke identified, researchers say

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Three key factors can help determine which patients receiving inpatient rehabilitation following a stroke are at a higher risk for being readmitted to the hospital, a new study finds.

Recovering stroke patients who are functioning poorly, exhibit symptoms of depression and lack social support are more likely to be readmitted within three months, according to investigators at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. They assert that while rehabilitation researchers have suspected residents with these traits were more susceptible to rehospitalizations, existing data did not support this assumption.

"By identifying clear demographic, clinical and environmental factors that lead to rehospitalization, we can develop meaningful quality indicators for post-acute care that target ways to improve patients' health and contain costs by reducing the likelihood of readmission," Kenneth Ottenbacher, M.D., director, Center for Rehabilitation Sciences, and associate director, UTMB Sealy Center on Aging, said.

Medicare pays out roughly $18 billion each year due to hospital readmission for older adults within 30 days of discharge. The study is available online at The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.
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