Men are much more likely to return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge than women, and the risk further increases if they are retired or unmarried, according to a study in BMJ Open.
For the study, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine analyzed 2006 and 2007 data from 737 adults participating in the Project Re-Engineered Discharge (Project RED) clinical trial.
Altogether, the 30-day return rate—which researchers said included readmissions and ED visits—was 47 events per 100 men and 29 events per 100 women. The researchers note that men were two times more likely than women to visit the ED within 30 days of discharge, accounting for most of the difference in post-discharge hospital use.
The researchers attributed much of the difference in hospital use to follow-up care. Based on phone interviews, the researchers found that only 49% of men visited their primary care provider within 30 days of discharge, compared to 57% of women. In addition, they found that fewer men understood their follow-up appointments.
In addition, the researchers identified several risk factors that increase a man's risk of returning to the hospital, including being retired, being unmarried, or having symptoms of depression. Those risk factors did not impact women's post-discharge hospital use.
According to the study, the "findings raise the possibility that social isolation—as illustrated by the positive association with being retired, unmarried, and symptoms of depression—may be important factors to target for intervention" (Hand, Medscape Medical News, 4/19, Boston University release, 4/19).