Risk of readmission to hospital higher for elderly with hearing loss

Seniors

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Researchers have found that patients with difficulty communicating with medical personnel had a 32% increased likelihood of being readmitted to hospital within 30 days.

The research team from New York University (NYU) studied the extent to which hearing loss might have an impact on hospital readmission risk. To carry out their study, the team used the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) and identified patients 65 years and over who said that they had difficulty communicating with healthcare personnel due to their hearing loss. They then compared the hospitalization experiences of these patients with those who did not have these difficulties.

The increased risk found in the study took into account differences between the two groups, such as age, number of medical problems, and a range of other sociodemographic factors, according to a news release from NYU.

“People with hearing loss often have difficulty understanding speech in noisy and stressful situations,” said Jan Blustein, MD, PhD, professor of health policy and medicine at the university. Blustein is also senior author on a research paper published by the team on this topic. “Hospitals are noisy, chaotic places and people with hearing loss may have trouble understanding key information, such as what medicines they should take after discharge, or how they should watch for or manage exacerbation of their symptoms. This puts them at risk for difficulties after they are discharged from hospital.”

Source: New York University

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