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Adverse events among patients following discharge from hospital

Adverse events resulting from medical treatments are known to occur quite often among hospitalized patients. In their study of patients discharged from a general internal medical service at an academic hospital in Ottawa, Canada, Alan Forster and colleagues found that 23% of the patients had experienced an AE and that 6% had a preventable AE.

The authors found that 72% of all AEs were related to medications, while a univariate analysis revealed that female sex, type 2 diabetes mellitus and pneumonia were independent predictors that an AE would occur. The study found that while two-thirds of AEs caused only symptoms, 12% led to an emergency department visit, 17% led to readmission to hospital and 3% resulted in death. Previous studies have shown that discharged patients have a high risk of experiencing an adverse event secondary to treatment received in hospital. The authors recommend closer monitoring of patients -- particularly of frail elderly patients -- after discharge from hospital.

In a related commentary, Ross Baker and Peter Norton stress the importance of a smooth transition between hospital-based and community-based care in preventing AEs among patients discharged from hospital.


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Contact: Ron Vezina
rvezina@ottawahospital.on.ca
613-737-8460
Canadian Medical Association Journal
2-Feb-2004


Page: 1

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