Patients who acquire an infection while in the hospital are 60% more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than their uninfected peers, according to a new study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
For the study—the first to examine the direct association between readmissions and infections—researchers from the University of Maryland (UM) and Oregon State University evaluated data for 136,513 patients admitted to UM Medical Center between 2001 and 2008. They found that:
- Patients who tested positive for Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or vancomycin-resistant enterococci at least 48 hours after admission were 60% more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than patients who did not test positive;
- Patients who tested positive for the three hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) at least 48 hours after admission were 40% more likely to be readmitted within a year than patients who did not test positive.
According to the researchers, the findings provide strong support for infection-prevention efforts in hospitals.
"The potential to reduce readmissions along with other known benefits—lower patient morbidity, mortality, and health care costs—may provide additional impetus to reduce health care-associated infections," says study author Jon Furuno.
The researchers also recommend providing additional discharge guidance and resources to patients with positive infection cultures (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 5/6, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America release, 5/4).