Risk Factors for Hospitalization of Home Hospice Enrollees Development and Validation of a Predictive Tool. Academic Article uri icon


  • Over 10% of hospice patients experience at least 1 care transition 6 months prior to death. Transitions at the end of life, particularly from hospice to hospital, result in burdensome and fragmented care for patients and families. Little is known about factors that predict hospitalization in this population.To develop and validate a model predictive of hospitalization after enrollment into home hospice using prehospice admission risk factors.Retrospective cohort study using Medicare fee-for-service claims.Patients enrolled into the Medicare hospice benefit were ≥18 years old in 2012.Hospitalization within 2 days from a hospice discharge.We developed a predictive model using 61 947 hospice enrollments, of which 3347 (5.4%) underwent a hospitalization. Seven variables were associated with hospitalization: age 18 to 55 years old (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 2.94 [2.41-3.59]), black race (2.13 [1.93-2.34]), east region (1.97 [1.73-2.24]), a noncancer diagnosis (1.32 [1.21-1.45]), 4 or more chronic conditions (8.11 [7.19-9.14]), 2 or more prior hospice enrollments (1.75 [1.35-2.26]), and enrollment in a not-for-profit hospice (2.01 [1.86-2.18]). A risk scoring tool ranging from 0 to 29 was developed, and a cutoff score of 18 identified hospitalized patients with a positive predictive value of 22%.Reasons for hospitalization among home hospice patients are complex. Patients who are younger, belong to a minority group, and have a greater number of chronic conditions are at increased odds of hospitalization. Our newly developed predictive tool identifies patients at risk for hospitalization and can serve as a benchmark for future model development.

publication date

  • November 2017