Heart failure patients discharged from skilled nursing facilities after two days or less may be as much as four times more likely to be readmitted to a hospital than those who stay longer, according to a new analysis.

The study also found that the hospital readmission rate falls by half for patients who remain in a skilled nursing facility for one to two weeks.

The analysis evaluated Medicare data for heart failure patients at least 65 years old and did not adjust for their severity of illness.

These findings suggest that the current emphasis on limiting patients’ time in post-acute-care settings may not contribute to their return to good health and increases their chances of being readmitted to a hospital.  Even under ideal circumstances, 25 percent of heart failure patients admitted to skilled nursing facilities are readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge.

Learn more from the Healthcare Finance News article “Shorter stays in a skilled nursing facility tied to higher risk for readmission” and the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine study “Risk of Readmission After Discharge From Skilled Nursing Facilities Following Heart Failure Hospitalization: A Retrospective Cohort Study.”