Rehospitalization following compensable work-related tetraplegia
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DESIGN: Descriptive study. OBJECTIVES: To document the characteristics of rehospitalization following work-related tetraplegia, investigate risk factors for rehospitalization and identify opportunities for rehospitalization prevention. SETTING: Workers' compensation administrative database with national coverage. METHODS: The administrative database of a large workers' compensation provider was searched for work-related tetraplegia claims with dates of injury between 1 January 1989 and 31 December 1999. In all, 61 cases were identified where detailed rehospitalization information was available. Medical payment data were extracted, rehospitalization reasons were coded, and rates, costs and length of stay were calculated. RESULTS: In all, 62% of cases were rehospitalized at some time during the period for which data were available. The average number of days the study group spent rehospitalized per year was 9.2 and the average annual cost was 14,197 US dollars. The most common reasons for rehospitalization were dermatological (23%), orthopedic (18%) and urological (14%). It was found that as many as 74% of the total number of days persons spent rehospitalized, 64% of the monies spent on rehospitalization, and 47% of rehospitalizations could have been prevented. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with earlier research, the ability to identify risk factors for rehospitalization was limited. However, the current study does highlight the extent to which rehospitalizations disrupt the lives of people with work-related tetraplegia and that a substantial proportion of rehospitalizations can be avoided. SPONSORSHIP: The research was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research National Model SCI Systems (Grant no. H133N00024).
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