When nursing home residents return from a hospital stay, they are often developing preventable health problems, a new study finds.
Researchers say heightened staffing attention on both ends just before and after a transfer could fend off a lot of problems.
Out of close to 400 complications after 762 discharges studied, researchers found that more than half of complications related to conditions such as pressure ulcers, skin tears and falls. Another 28% involved infections.
The study looked at residents discharged back to long-term care between March 2016 to December 31, 2017, and followed up for 45 days. Researchers concluded that almost 70% of adverse events were preventable. Four out of five patients had multiple chronic medical problems, and almost three in four were taking 10 or more medications. All were residents at 32 nursing homes throughout New England.
Researchers noted hospitals may be pushing residents out faster than appropriate.
“We found that nearly one-fourth of events occurred on the day of discharge or the day after, suggesting that the resident was prematurely discharged,” they wrote. “There is concern that the hectic hospital environment with focus on decreasing length of stay could increase the risk of adverse events.”
Results appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine.