BackgroundIntensive care unit (ICU) readmissions have been shown to increase a patient's in-hospital mortality and length of stay (LOS). Despite this, no methods have been set in place to prevent readmissions from occurring.
ObjectiveThe aim of this literature review was to evaluate the impact of ICU readmission on patient outcomes and to evaluate the effect of using a risk stratification tool, the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), on ICU readmissions.
MethodsA database search was performed on PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Google Scholar, and ProQuest. In the initial search, 2028 articles were retrieved; after inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, 12 articles were ultimately used in this literature review.
ResultsThis literature review found that patients readmitted to the ICU have an increased mortality rate and LOS at the hospital. The sample sizes in the reviewed studies ranged from 158 to 745,187 patients. Readmissions were most commonly associated with respiratory issues about 18% to 59% of the time. The NEWS has been shown to detect early clinical deterioration in a patient within 24 hours of transfer, with a 95% CI of 0.89 to 0.94 (P<.001), a sensitivity of 93.6% , and a specificity of 82.2%.
ConclusionsICU readmissions are associated with worse patient outcomes, including hospital mortality and increased LOS. Without the use of an objective screening tool, the provider has been solely responsible for the decision of patient transfer. Assessment with the NEWS could be helpful in decreasing the frequency of inappropriate transfers and ultimately ICU readmission.