Background Readmission within 30 d of an acute hospital stay is frequent, costly, and increasingly subject to penalties. Early readmission is most common after vascular surgery; these patients are often discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), making postacute care an essential partner in reducing readmissions. We characterize 30-day readmissions among vascular surgery patients discharged to SNF to provide evidence for this understudied segment of readmission after specialty surgery. Methods We utilize the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chronic Conditions Warehouse, a longitudinal 5% national random sample of Medicare beneficiaries to study 30-day readmission or death after discharge to SNF following abdominal aortic aneurysm repair or lower extremity revascularization from 2005-2009. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression with Least Adaptive Shrinkage and Selection Operator were used for analysis. Results Two thousand one hundred ninety-seven patients underwent an abdominal aortic aneurysm procedure or lower extremity revascularization at 686 hospitals and discharged to 1714 SNFs. Eight hundred (36%) were readmitted or had died at 30 d. In adjusted analysis, predictors of readmission or death at 30 d included SNF for-profit status (OR [odds ratio] = 1.2; P = 0.032), number of hospitalizations in the previous year (OR = 1.06; P = 0.011), number of comorbidities (OR = 1.06; P = 0.004), emergent procedure (OR = 1.69; P < 0.001), renal complication (OR = 1.38; P = 0.003), respiratory complication (OR = 1.45; P < 0.001), thromboembolic complication (OR = 1.57; P = 0.019), and wound complication (OR = 0.70; P = 0.017). Conclusions Patients discharged to SNF following vascular surgery have exceptionally high rates of readmission or death at 30 d. Many factors predicting readmission or death potentially modify decision-making around discharge, making early detection, discharge planning, and matching patient needs to SNF capabilities essential to improving outcomes.
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