Unmet Nursing Care Linked to Rehospitalizations Among Older Black AMI Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study of US Hospitals

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Recent studies suggest that nurses may be unable to complete all aspects of necessary care due to a lack of time. Research is needed to determine whether unmet nursing care contributes to disparities in readmissions for vulnerable populations.


To examine differences in the relationship between nursing care left undone and acute myocardial infarction readmissions among older black patients compared with older white patients.

Research Design:

Cross-sectional analysis of multiple datasets, including: 2006 to 2007 administrative discharge data, a survey of registered nurses, and the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. Risk-adjusted logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between care left undone and 30-day readmission. Interactions were used to examine the moderating effect of care left undone on readmission by race.


The sample included 69,065 patients in 253 hospitals in California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Older black patients were 18% more likely to experience a readmission after adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics and more likely to be in hospitals where nursing care was often left undone. Black patients were more likely to be readmitted when nurses were unable to talk/comfort patients [odds ratio (OR), 1.09; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01–1.19], complete documentation (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.01–1.32), or administer medications in a timely manner (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.09–1.46).


Unmet nursing care is associated with readmissions for older black patients following acute myocardial infarction. Investment in nursing resources to improve the delivery of nursing care may decrease disparities in readmission.

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