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Systematic Review of Hospital Readmissions Among Patients With Cancer in the United States

Janice F. Bell
Robin L. Whitney
Sarah C. Reed
Hermine Poghosyan
Rebecca S. Lash
Katherine K. Kim
Andra Davis
Richard J. Bold
Jill G. Joseph
ONF 2017, 44(2), 176-191 DOI: 10.1011/17.ONF.176-191

Purpose/Objectives: To review the existing literature on readmission rates, predictors, and reasons for readmission among adults with cancer.

Data Sources: U.S.-based empirical studies reporting readmission rates from January 2005 to December 2015 were identified using four online library databases—PubMed, CINAHL®, EconLit, and the online bibliography of the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results Program. Some articles were identified by the authors outside the database and bibliography searches.

Data Synthesis: Of the 1,219 abstracts and 271 full-text articles screened, 56 studies met inclusion criteria. The highest readmission rates were observed in patients with bladder, pancreatic, ovarian, or liver cancer. Significant predictors of readmission included comorbidities, older age, advanced disease, and index length of hospital stay. Common reasons for readmission included gastrointestinal and surgical complications, infection, and dehydration.

Conclusions: Clinical efforts to reduce the substantial readmission rates among adults with cancer may target high-rate conditions, infection prevention, proactive management of nausea and vomiting, and nurse-led care coordination interventions for older adult patients with multiple comorbid conditions and advanced cancer.

Implications for Nursing: Commonly reported reasons for readmission were nursing-sensitive patient outcomes (NSPOs), amenable to nursing intervention in oncology settings. These findings underscore the important role oncology nurses play in readmission prevention by implementing evidence-based interventions to address NSPOs and testing their impact in future research.

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