Objective: Hospitalization of patients with delirium after visiting the emergency department (ED) is often required. However, the readmission risk after discharge from the ED should also be considered. This study aimed to explore whether (i) immediate hospitalization influences the readmission risk of patients with delirium; (ii) the readmission risk is affected by various risk factors; and (iii) the healthcare cost differs between groups within 28 days of the first ED visit. Methods: Using the National Health Insurance Research Database, the data of 2,780 subjects presenting with delirium at an ED visit from 2000 to 2008 were examined. The readmission risks of the groups of patients (i.e., patients who were and were not admitted within 24 hours of an ED visit) within 28 days were compared, and the effects of the severities of different comorbidities (using Charlson's comorbidity index, CCI), age, gender, diagnosis and differences in medical healthcare cost were analyzed. Results: Patients without immediate hospitalization had a higher risk of readmission within 3, 7, 14, or 28 days of discharge from the ED, especially subjects with more severe comorbidities (CCI≥3) or older patients (≥65 years). Subjects with more severe comorbidities or older subjects who were not admitted immediately also incurred a greater healthcare cost for re-hospitalization within the 28-day follow-up period. Conclusion: Patients with delirium with a higher CCI or of a greater age should be carefully considered for immediate hospitalization from ED for further examination in order to reduce the risk of re-hospitalization and cost of healthcare.
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