A new study published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation suggests the rates of hospital readmission following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be significantly higher than other chronic diseases and injuries and may even be higher than previously reported.
The study, led by Dr. Angela Colantonio, senior scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, UHN, examined nearly 30,000 TBI patients discharged from Ontario hospitals over the span of eight years.
According to the findings, approximately 36 percent of individuals with TBI had been readmitted to hospitals within three years of their initial injury for a variety of causes. Past research reported readmission rates of about 25 percent.
“Re-hospitalizations affects patients’ quality of life and put a strain on the health-care system,” said Cristina Saverino, first author of the study and clinical fellow, Toronto Rehab.
“These findings indicate that we need to consider how to decrease hospital readmissions from TBI patient populations to improve overall efficiency in health care.”
The most significant predictors of re-hospitalization for TBI patients were being male, of older age, and having a higher number of pre-existing health conditions. Specifically, mental health conditions were highly linked with a higher rate of readmission.
However, the study also noted the risk for re-hospitalization for patients involved in motor vehicle collisions was lower than previously reported.
“We know that patients with TBI resulting from motor vehicle collisions are more than 50 per cent more likely to be discharged with support services than those who sustained their injury from other causes, likely due to supplemental auto insurance,” Dr. Colantonio said. “Because these patients appear to use fewer subsequent hospital services, this may suggest that additional care and rehabilitation provided earlier to all people with TBI could reduce the high costs of readmission.”
Dr. Colantonio notes that common causes of re-hospitalization varied by age group and sex, demonstrating a need to look more closely at the factors associated with readmissions to create tailored interventions.
“Our next step will be to examine the comorbidities associated with re-hospitalizations using a more comprehensive set of data,” Dr. Colantonio said. “This will be crucial in identifying the best methods to reduce readmissions down the road.”