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Risk for Unplanned Hospital Readmission of Patients With Cancer: Results of a Retrospective Medical Record Review

Carolyn Weaver
Linda Schiech
Jeanne Held-Warmkessel
Pamela Kedziera
Eileen Haney
Gloria DiLullo
James S. Babb
Karen Ruth
Deena Dell
Andrea Barsevick
ONF 2006, 33(3), E44-E52 DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.E44-E52

Purpose/Objectives: To identify potential factors that place patients with cancer at risk for unplanned readmissions after discharge from the hospital.

Design: Retrospective, descriptive, medical record review.

Setting: A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in an urban area of the Northeastern United States.

Sample: 78 patients were selected from those readmitted within seven days of discharge. For each readmission case, a nonreadmitted patient was randomly selected and matched on discharge date and reason for prior admission. The age range was 22-87 years, men and women were equally represented, and 88% were Caucasian.

Methods: The Readmission Criteria Record was developed to collect data from medical records about factors associated with readmission, including demographics, severity of illness, support at home, symptoms, and comorbidities.

Main Research Variables: Criteria associated with readmission risk.

Findings: Patients who had gastrointestinal cancer, nausea within 24 hours of discharge, financial and insurance concerns, or caregiver difficulty or those who lived alone were more likely to be readmitted within seven days of discharge. Patients were more likely to be readmitted on Friday than any other day. Among readmitted patients, 48% were readmitted within one to two days postdischarge.

Conclusions: Knowledge of factors that may place patients with cancer at an increased risk for readmission and subsequent implementation of appropriate interventions during hospitalization may help to decrease risk of readmission.

Implications for Nursing: The factors identified provide a basis for assessment, planning, interventions, and follow-up of patients to help reduce the risk of readmission and, thus, poor outcomes.