Patient Perceptions of Readmission Risk: An Exploratory Survey

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Interventions to prevent readmissions often rely upon patient participation to be successful. We surveyed 895 general medicine patients slated for hospital discharge to (1) assess patient attitudes surrounding readmission, (2) ascertain whether these attitudes were associated with actual readmission, and (3) determine whether patients can estimate their own readmission risk. Actual readmissions and other clinical variables were captured from administrative data and linked to individual survey responses. We found that actual readmissions were not correlated with patients’ interest in preventing readmission, sense of control over readmission, or intent to follow discharge instructions. However, patients were able to predict their own readmissions (P = .005) even after adjusting for predicted readmission rate, race, sex, age, and payer. Reassuringly, over 80% of respondents reported that they would be frustrated or disappointed to be readmitted and almost 90% indicated that they planned to follow all of their discharge instructions. Whether assessing patient-perceived readmission risk might help to target preventive interventions warrants further study.

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