Hospitalized pneumonia patients who have abnormal vital signs and other problems in the 24 hours prior to discharge face a greater chance of hospital readmission or death, according to a study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Published recently in Archives of Internal Medicine, the study found that patients who were medically unstable had a 30 percent increased chance of readmission or death and a 50 percent higher chance of not returning to their usual activities within 30 days.
Researchers found the risk of readmission or death was 5 times greater for a small proportion of patients who were discharged with two or more unstable factors.
Researchers said hospital and insurance plan guidelines that shorten the length of hospital stays should build in a safety check to measure clinical stability prior to discharge to make sure that patients are not sent home too soon.
For more information, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/news/vnewsix.htm.