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People with diabetes are often hospitalised multiple times.

Multiple admissions come with high health care costs, with the average cost per diabetes hospitalisation in Australian being $8755.

There are various factors thought to increase a diabetic’s risk of being readmitted post discharge like having comorbid health conditions, poor coordination of care and inadequate discharge planning. A large proportion of these readmissions could be avoided with early identification of risk factors and better planning.

Researchers in Australia investigated which older people with diabetes were at high risk of readmission within 30 days of discharge and what factors contributed to this.

People who had been hospitalised with diabetes and followed them to see if they were readmitted within 30 days of discharge. Their average age was 87 years. Researchers studied the causes of re-hospitalisation and determined whether it could have been avoided.

Nearly a quarter of the 848 patients hospitalised for diabetes were re-hospitalised within 30 days of discharge.

The factors identified in diabetic patients at higher risk of readmission were having comorbid heart failure, more than two recent previous hospitalisations and seeing multiple prescribers.  Researchers estimated that over 40% of these readmissions were potentially preventable had the person received appropriate primary care.

Implications

The burden of diabetes readmissions might be reduced with early identification of patients at high risk and better management of their care immediately following discharge.

On the part of the healthcare provider this could involve better planning and care coordination for patients immediately following their discharge.

For patients, it’s important to ensure that you’re booked in to see your GP soon after discharge and going through your medication and discharge plan before leaving hospital to make sure you understand it and feel confident about following it.

Last Reviewed: 05/01/2020

© Norman Swan Medical Communications.



References

Caughey, G et al. (2017). Understanding 30-day re-admission after hospitalisation of older patients for diabetes: identifying those at greatest risk. MJA 206 (4). doi: 10.5694/mja16.00671.