Men have a higher rate of hospital utilization within 30 days of discharge than women, according to a study in BMJ Open. Men are more likely to return to the hospital post-discharge if they are retired, unmarried, exhibit depressive symptoms or have no primary care provider visit during the month.
"Additionally, men fared more poorly at understanding and attending their follow-up appointments, which also appeared to be an independent risk factor for returning to the hospital for men in this study," researchers state. They also note that men's reduced access to primary care may factor into their additional use of hospital services.
With those risk factors in mind, researchers suggest healthcare organizations can lower the risk for early post-discharge readmissions among men by connecting them to primary care services, addressing social isolation by fostering social support and routinely screening for depressive symptoms.
Researchers acknowledged that the study was limited to an urban safety-net hospital, reported Medscape Today.
Gender disparities can go beyond healthcare utilization, as a study published earlier this year in the journal Health Services Research examined differences in perceptions of care between men and women and found that women were more critical. Women tended to be less satisfied with staff responsiveness, their discussions with nurses, communication about medications and discharge plans, and cleanliness and hygiene issues, FiercePracticeManagement reported.