The researchers defined the absolute risks of rehospitalisation and death on each day during the full year after discharge."If we can track absolute risks and their changes over time, this information will be critical in helping patients and hospitals set realistic expectations and goals for recovery, and plan for appropriate care after discharge," said lead author Kumar Dharmarajan, assistant professor  at Yale School of Medicine.

However, specific risks vary by discharge diagnosis and outcomes over time.For example, risk remains elevated for a longer period of time following hospitalisation for heart failure compared with hospitalisation for acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia, the researchers added.

The study looked at three million patients aged 65 or older who survived hospitalisation for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and pneumonia from 2008 to 2010.

"Patients should remain vigilant for deterioration in health for an extended time after hospitalization," Dharmarajan pointed out.

"This might mean checking in more often with a primary care physician or specialist," he added.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

 

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