Background: In older patients with acute illness, a condition of “hospital-dependence” may arise: patients get adapted to the hospital care and, once discharged, may experience health status decline, requiring repeated readmissions despite appropriate treatments. Aims: The objective of this case-series study was to describe the characteristics of 118 patients (72 F) aged ≥75 (mean 83.7 ± 4.9) who were urgently admitted to our institution at least 4 times in 2015. Methods: For each patient and admission, data on multimorbidity (Cumulative Illness Rating Scale Comorbidity Score and Severity Index), frailty (Rockwood Clinical Frailty Scale), functional dependence, functional status, polypharmacy, length of stay and interval between admissions were extrapolated from clinical records. Mortality during the years 2015 and 2016 was assessed on the institutional database. Results: At the first admission, patients had a high burden of polypharmacy (median number of drugs 8.5, IQR 6–11) and multimorbidity (Comorbidity Score 15.8 ± 4.1, Severity Index 2.9 ± 1.1). However, most (55.5%) were fit or pre-frail according to Clinical Frailty Scale (score 1–4). At multivariate models, Severity Index was significantly correlated with the length of stay (β ± SE 2.23 ± 0.89, p =.01) and readmission interval (β ± SE -22.49 ± 9.27, p =.02). Significantly increasing trends of multimorbidity and disability occurred across admissions. By the end of 2016, 66% of patients had died. Frailty (RR 2.005, 95%CI 1.054–3.814, p =.007) and cancer were the only predictors of mortality. Conclusions: Hospital-dependent patients had severe multimorbidity, but exhibited an unexpectedly low prevalence of frailty/disability at baseline, though increasing across admissions. Trends of frailty and multimorbidity are paramount for profiling the hospital-dependence risk.
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