Is health-related quality of life among older, chronically ill patients associated with unplanned readmission to hospital?

Sue Pearson, S. Stewart, S. Rubenach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Assessment of health-related quality of life (HRQL) is being used increasingly to assess the impact of treatment. Aims: To determine if HRQL, assessed shortly after acute hospitalisation, is associated with readmission to hospital. Methods: In a prospective, longitudinal study, 163 chronically ill, medical and surgical patients (mean age 67.0±16.3 years) discharged to home following acute hospitalisation were studied. HRQL was assessed at one month post-hospital discharge using the MOS 36-Item Short- Form Health Survey (SF-36). Patients were followed-up for six months thereafter to determine subsequent incidence of unplanned readmission. Results: HRQL as measured by the eight health dimensions of the SF-36, for the entire cohort, was lower relative to age and gender matched norms for the local population (p<0.01). During study follow-up, 47 (35%) patients had an unplanned readmission and one patient died. Patients who had an unplanned readmission demonstrated both significantly lower physical (32.2±9.8 vs 38.6±10.1:p<0.001) and mental (45.1±12.7 vs 49.9±12.3: p=0.03) health component scores in comparison to the remainder of the cohort. On multivariate analysis, independent correlates of unplanned readmission were: 1) presence of formal home assistance (OR 6.4: p<0.01), 2) ≥five prescribed medications (OR 2.4: p=0.04), 3) ≥two admissions in the six months before follow-up (OR 4.3: p<0.01) and 4) an SF-36 physical component score of ≤40 (OR 2.2: p=0.05). Conclusions: In this cohort of predominantly older and chronically ill patients recently discharged from acute hospital care, relatively lower SF-36 physical health component scores were independently associated with an increased risk of subsequent unplanned readmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-706
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Older patients
  • Patient readmission
  • Physical functioning
  • Quality of life
  • SF-36


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