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In this issue, a study by Greysen et al1 provides new insight into the consequences of functional impairment for Medicare beneficiaries after a hospital admission. Linking data from the Health and Retirement Study (a nationally representative cohort of seniors living in communities) and Medicare claims, the authors find that as a patient’s degree of functional impairment increases, so does the risk that he or she will be readmitted after discharge. It is well known that functional impairment is associated with an increased risk of admission to a nursing home and of death within 1 year.2,3 The study by Greysen et al suggests that impaired functional status should also be a target of interventions to reduce hospital readmissions.
Burke LG, Jha AK. Patients’ Functional Status and Hospital Readmissions: Remembering What Matters. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):565–566. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7759
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