The primary objective of this study was to describe the time to first acute-care use (e.g., emergency department use without hospitalization or rehospitalization)for older adults who discharged to home after receiving post-acute care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The secondary objective was to identify predictors of patients' first acute-care use.
Retrospective cohort study using administrative claims data.
SNFs providing post-acute care in North and South Carolina (N=1,474).
A cohort of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older (N=55,980) who were hospitalized, then transferred to a SNF for post-acute care, and subsequently discharged home (January 1, 2010, to August 31, 2011).
Medicare institutional claims data (Part A and Part B) and Medicare enrollment data were used; facility-level variables were obtained from CMS Nursing Home Compare. Survival from SNF discharge to first acute-care use was explored. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to describe patient, home care and nursing facility-level predictors.
After SNF-to-home discharge, 22.1% of older adults had an episode of acute-care use within 30 days, including 7.25% with an ED visit without hospitalization and 14.8% with a rehospitalization; 37.5 % of older adults had their first acute-care usewithin 90 days. Male gender, dual eligibility status, higher Charlson co-morbidity score, certain primary diagnoses at the index hospitalization (neoplasms and respiratory disease), and care in SNFs with for-profit ownership or fewer licensed practical nurses hours per patient day were associated with higher risk for acute-care use.
Medicare patients have a high use of acute-care services after discharge from SNFs, and several factors associated with acute-care use are potentially modifiable. Findings suggest the need for interventions to support patients as they transition from SNFs to home.