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Who comes back with what: a retrospective database study on reasons for emergency readmission to hospital in children and young people in England
  1. Linda P M M Wijlaars1,2,
  2. Pia Hardelid1,3,
  3. Jenny Woodman1,2,
  4. Janice Allister4,
  5. Ronny Cheung5,
  6. Ruth Gilbert1,2
  1. 1Children's Policy Research Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  2. 2Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research London, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London, London, UK
  4. 4Clinical Innovation and Research, Royal College of General Practitioners, London, UK
  5. 5Department of General Paediatrics, Evelina Children's Hospital, Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Linda P M M Wijlaars, Population, Policy and Practice, UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guildford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK; linda.wijlaars{at}ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Objective To determine the proportion of children and young people (CYP) in England who are readmitted for the same condition.

Design Retrospective cohort study.

Setting National administrative hospital data (Hospital Episode Statistics).

Participants CYP (0-year-olds to 24-year-olds) discharged after an emergency admission to the National Health Service in England in 2009/2010.

Main outcome measures Coded primary diagnosis classified in six broad groups indicating reason for admission (infection, chronic condition, injury, perinatal related or pregnancy related, sign or symptom or other). We grouped readmissions as ≤30 days or between 31 days and 2 years after the index discharge. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine factors at the index admission that were predictive of readmission within 30 days.

Results 9% of CYP were readmitted within 30 days. Half of the 30-day readmissions and 40% of the recurrent admissions between 30 days and 2 years had the same primary diagnosis group as the original admission. These proportions were consistent across age, sex and diagnostic groups, except for infants and young women with pregnancy-related problems (15–24 years) who were more likely to be readmitted for the same primary diagnostic group. CYP with underlying chronic conditions were readmitted within 30 days twice as often (OR: 1.93, 95% CI 1.89 to 1.99) compared with CYP without chronic conditions.

Conclusions Financial penalties for readmission are expected to incentivise more effective care of the original problem, thereby avoiding readmission. Our findings, that half of children come back with different problems, do not support this presumption.

  • Adolescent Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health services research

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