Male patients are much more likely than their female counterparts to be readmitted into a hospital within 30 days of discharge, according to a recent study by the Boston University School of Medicine. The study, which tracked 737 hospitalized adults at an urban, academic medical center, found that 29 percent of female patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge, compared to 47 percent of male patients.
Male subjects had a higher rate of readmission if they were retired, single or depressed. Men were also less likely to complete a follow-up appointment with their primary care physician, which also increased their likelihood for readmission.
"Our findings raise the possibility that social isolation — as illustrated by the positive association with being retired, unmarried and symptoms of depression — may be important factors to target for intervention," the study says. Thus, hospitals that intervened in addressing those factors might observe a lower rate of readmissions.
Here are some other highlights:
- The only risk factor for women in the study was whether they had visited the hospital in the past six months prior to the study. Being depressed, single or retired did not increase female subjects' chances of being readmitted within 30 days following discharge.
- Women in the study showed a higher rate of depressive symptoms, yet were still less likely to be readmitted within 30 days.
- Men were less likely to understand their follow-up appointments than women (78 percent versus 87 percent). And in the 30 days after discharge, women visited their primary care physician more frequently (57 percent versus 49 percent for men).