Objectives: Discharge planning is an effective strategy to prevent adverse health events and reduce medical expenditures. The high-risk target populations of discharged elderly patients and important predictors for the occurrence of adverse events are still not clear. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to examine the validity of discharge planning screening tools in sufficiently identifying high-risk adverse events to health after discharge and to compare two screening tools with our study model. Design: We conducted a prospective study and recruited elderly patients who had had no hospitalization within 3 months before admission to 13 general wards of a medical center in northern Taiwan from November 2018 to May 2020. Methods: Elderly patients were randomly selected during the study period. Within 24 h of admission, patients were asked to consent to join this study. After the patient was discharged, the patient's health and hospitalization for the next year were tracked by telephone interviews. Results: In total, 300 participants were recruited for this study. Incidences of high-risk adverse events within 30 days, 60 days, and 12 months after discharge were 20.3%, 25.7%, and 48.7% respectively. A logistic regression showed that an increased age, physical or mental disabilities or a major illness, a low body-mass index, and having been hospitalized in the past year were significantly related to the occurrence of high-risk events among elderly discharge patients. The pooled sensitivity of the Pra was 52% and the specificity was 72%; the pooled sensitivity of the LACE index was 67% and the specificity was 36%. The predictive model of this study had a higher discriminatory power than the Pra and LACE index for high-risk events after discharge. Conclusions: Elderly patients are more vulnerable to high-risk adverse events after discharge. Both the LACE index and Pra are useful discharge planning screening tools to screen for high-risk adverse events after discharge. Elderly patients need more-active and complete continuity of care plans and discharge planning services to ensure that the overall quality of patient care can be improved and readmissions and mortality reduced. Clinical relevance: The findings of this study can provide information for discharge planning managers to identify high-risk elderly patients during hospitalization and promptly offer care education or resources to improve care management.
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