Depression Linked to Hospitalization for Preventable Illnesses

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People with depression are much more likely to be hospitalized with medical conditions, such as diabetes and bacterial pneumonia, that could have been avoided through outpatient care.

Dimitry S. Davydow, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, and colleagues, examined the health records of five million Danish citizens. About 26% had been diagnosed with depression or were taking an antidepressant during the study period from 2005 through 2013.

The goal of the study was to find out whether depressed individuals were more likely to be hospitalized for prevent conditions or more likely to return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.

Subjects with depression were 2.35 times more likely to be hospitalized for a preventable illness than those without depression, the researchers reported in the journal BMJ Open. After accounting for socioeconomic factors, other illnesses, and how often they visited their primary-care provider, those with depression were 1.45 times more likely to have a preventable hospitalization.

In addition, depressed people were 1.21 times more likely to be rehospitalized within 30 days for the same ailment, and 1.19 times more likely to return for a different one.

Lack of access to primary care was ruled out as the primary reason for the hospitalization since Denmark has universal health care.

“One solution may be to do a better job integrating mental health services into primary-care settings,” Davydow said in a statement. “That way patients with depression can obtain psychiatric care more easily and their mental health care better incorporated into their overall health care.”

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Subjects with depression were 2.35 times more likely to be hospitalized for a preventable illness than those without depression.

Individuals with depression are more than twice as likely to have hospitalizations that might be preventable with timely outpatient medical care in the community, a new study finds. In addition, after being discharged from the hospital, individuals with depression were also more likely to return to the hospital within 30 days for the same conditions, the researchers found.

Such preventable hospitalizations, also known as hospitalizations for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, include exacerbations of common chronic conditions, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and acute illnesses, such as bacterial pneumonia and urinary tract infections.

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