Parliament: 1 in 5 older patients of public hospitals re-admitted within a month

Almost one in five public hospital patients aged 65 years and older are readmitted within a month of being discharged. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Almost one in five public hospital patients aged 65 years and older are readmitted within a month of being discharged. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore- Almost one in five public hospital patients aged 65 years and older are readmitted within a month of being discharged.

Among all patients, the rate of re-admission within 30 days of discharge was 12.2 per cent, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in a written reply to a question from opposition MP Chen Show Mao.

Mr Chen (Aljunied GRC) had also asked in Parliament October 7 if such information could be published for each hospital annually.

To this, Mr Gan said his ministry will "study the request", adding that the information is already shared among public hospitals.

On the 1 in five figure, Mr Gan said: "Overall, our public hospital/institution re-admission rates are comparable to the United States, but higher than some other countries such as the United Kingdom."

He did not elaborate on what the rates are in the UK and other countries that do better.

The readmission rates here vary from a low of 6.2 per cent at KK Women's and Children's Hospital to a high of 15.1 per cent at Alexandra Hospital when it comes to all patients.

For the group of older patients, they range from 18.5 per cent at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) to 21.1 per cent at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

Mr Gan said factors affecting readmission rates include the patient's condition and illness as well as "the quality of inpatient care, the transitions to primary and community care, and the follow-up care, including rehabilitation care.

"The home environment and family support is also an important contributing factor."

On TTSH's lower rates for older patients, Mr Gan said it assigns a care manager to monitor patients who have a history of multiple admissions.

"Such coordinated care and monitoring ensures that these patients receive adequate support, and thus minimises the risk of readmission," he said.

salma@sph.com.sg