Study: Elderly heart failure patients discharged to nursing homes face higher risks

Share this content:

Elderly heart failure patients who need skilled nursing care after discharge from the hospital face a higher risk of poor outcomes and even death, according to the American Heart Association.

Researchers acknowledged that seniors with heart failure are already at a disadvantage when they leave the hospital, in terms of complications and re-admittance. However, family members and other healthcare providers might expect the patient to recover quickly and resume their previous quality of life, the researchers said.

Researchers from the University of Colorado-Denver School of Medicine analyzed data from 15,459 Medicare patients, with an average age of 80, who were discharged from the hospital after three or more days of treatment for heart failure. Approximately 14% of the seniors discharged to skilled nursing care facilities died within 30 days after hospitalization. Four percent of those discharged to their homes died within a month. Within a month of discharge, 27% of the study participants were re-admitted to the hospital. Twenty-four percent of those discharged to their homes were re-admitted to the hospital, researchers found.

The study was published in the journal Circulation.