Readmissions after stroke are common and appear to be associated with comorbidities or disability-related characteristics. In this study, we aimed to determine the patient and health-system level factors associated with all-cause and unplanned hospital readmission within 90 days after acute stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in Australia.
We used person-level linkages between data from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry (2009–2013), hospital admissions data and national death registrations from 4 Australian states. Time to first readmission (all-cause or unplanned) for discharged patients was examined within 30, 90, and 365 days, using competing risks regression to account for deaths postdischarge. Covariates included age, stroke severity (ability to walk on admission), stroke type, admissions before stroke/TIA and the Charlson Comorbidity Index (derived from International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, [Australian modified] coded hospital data in the preceding 5 years).
Among the 13 594 patients discharged following stroke/TIA (45% female; 65% ischemic stroke; 11% intracerebral hemorrhage; 4% undetermined stroke; and 20% TIA), 25% had an all-cause readmission and 15% had an unplanned readmission within 90 days. In multivariable analyses, the factors independently associated with a greater risk of unplanned readmission within 90 days were being female (subhazard ratio, 1.13 [95% CI, 1.03–1.24]), greater Charlson Comorbidity Index scores (subhazard ratio, 1.11 [95% CI, 1.09–1.12]) and having an admission ≤90 days before the index event (subhazard ratio, 1.85 [95% CI, 1.59–2.15]). Compared with being discharged to rehabilitation or aged care, those who were discharged directly home were more likely to have an unplanned readmission within 90 days (subhazard ratio, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.33–1.55]). These factors were similar for readmissions within 30 and 365 days.
Apart from comorbidities and patient-level characteristics, readmissions after stroke/TIA were associated with discharge destination. Greater support for transition to home after stroke/TIA may be needed to reduce unplanned readmissions.