Symptoms Reported by Frail Elderly Adults Independently Predict 30-Day Hospital Readmission or Emergency Department Care

Lynn S. Borkenhagen, Rozalina G. McCoy, Rachel D. Havyer, Stephanie M. Peterson, James M. Naessens, Paul Y. Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess the degree to which self-reported symptoms predict unplanned readmission or emergency department (ED) care within 30 days of high-risk, elderly adults enrolled in a posthospitalization care transition program (CTP). Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Posthospitalization CTP at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, from January 1, 2013, through March 3, 2015. Participants: Frail, elderly adults (N = 230; mean age 83.5 ± 8.3, 46.5% male). Measurements: Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) and self-reported symptoms, measured using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS), were ascertained upon CTP enrollment. Results: Mean CCI was 3.9 ± 2.3. Of 51 participants returning to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, 13 had ED visits, and 38 were readmitted. Age, sex, and CCI were not significantly different between returning and nonreturning participants, but returning participants were significantly more likely to report shortness of breath (P =.004), anxiety (P =.02), depression (P =.02), and drowsiness (P =.01). Overall ESAS score was also a significant predictor of hospital return (P =.01). Conclusion: Four self-reported symptoms and overall ESAS score, but not CCI, ascertained after hospital discharge were strong predictors of hospital return within 30 days. Including symptoms in risk stratification of high-risk elderly adults may help target interventions and reduce readmissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • 30-day readmission
  • care transitions
  • high-risk elderly adults
  • self-reported outcomes
  • symptom assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Symptoms Reported by Frail Elderly Adults Independently Predict 30-Day Hospital Readmission or Emergency Department Care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this