School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

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Social isolation and comorbidities are likely to have a significant level of influence on the healthcare use patterns of geriatric patients with ongoing congestive heart failure (CHF)-related needs.


A retrospective study was conducted in a specialized emergency department (ED) with a sample of 286 geriatric CHF patients who initially received CHF-related care over a six-month period. Social isolation levels were assessed using a pre-existing four-point screening tool used in the study setting and composite comorbidity was gauged using the Charlson Comorbidity Index method. Subjects were categorized into either “less than 30-day readmission” or “greater than 30-day readmission/non-readmitted” sample subgroups. The setting was a single 304-bed community hospital with approximately 45,000 annual ED visits. The analytic sample was comprised of geriatric patients 65+ years of age with an ICD-9 code corresponding to CHF.


There were no statistically significant differences between earlier hospital readmission versus later/non-readmitted sample patients when grouped by age, race, gender or level of measured social isolation. However, composite comorbidity scores were significantly lower for patients in the >30-day/non-readmitted subgroup compared to earlier readmission patients.


These initial study results suggest that a larger proportion of CHF hospital readmissions may be more heavily influenced by clinical factors than social living arrangements. Future studies with larger samples and validated measures of social isolation are needed to inform the development and testing of programs for geriatric CHF patients striving to avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions and adverse health outcomes.


This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

Spartan medical research journal



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Mentor/PI Department

Family Medicine



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