A better understanding of the causes of readmission for sepsis patients could help providers develop proactive care plans to prevent rehospitalizations, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Improved post-discharge care could also help medical teams tailor care to sepsis patients' condition-specific risks and develop similar strategies for other conditions, according to lead author Hallie C. Prescott, M.D., a critical care physician at the University of Michigan Health System, and her colleagues.
Although sepsis is only present in 10 percent of patients, it is the cause of up to half of all U.S. hospital deaths, FierceHealthcare previously reported.
Prescott and her team compared data from 2,600 sepsis survivors to that of 2,600 patients admitted to hospitals for other acute ailments. Roughly 42 percent of patients in both categories were readmitted within three months of discharge, but upon closer analysis the reasons differed between groups, according to the study. Among sepsis patients, the reason for readmission was far more likely to be conditions that clinicians could have prevented with early treatment. Common causes of readmission included a recurrence of sepsis and lung or kidney failure, as well as lung, skin and soft tissue infections.
Further analysis, Prescott and her team wrote, could help providers develop customized care plans for patients before discharge, helping them keep track of symptoms and conduct early interventions as needed.
"Many of these conditions can be managed if the patient can get in to see a doctor at the start of the illness, meaning that we potentially avoid hospitalization," Prescott said in a study announcement. "We need to assess their vulnerability and design a better landing pad for patients when they leave the hospital, and avoid the second hit that derails recovery."