Fall Risk Score at the Time of Discharge Predicts Readmission Following Total Joint Arthroplasty

Bheeshma Ravi, Zhang Nan, Adam J. Schwartz, Henry D. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Readmission among Medicare recipients is a leading driver of healthcare expenditure. To date, most predictive tools are too coarse for direct clinical application. Our objective in this study is to determine if a pre-existing tool to identify patients at increased risk for inpatient falls, the Hendrich Fall Risk Score, could be used to accurately identify Medicare patients at increased risk for readmission following arthroplasty, regardless of whether the readmission was due to a fall. Methods This study is a retrospective cohort study. We identified 2437 Medicare patients who underwent a primary elective total joint arthroplasty (TJA) of the hip or knee for osteoarthritis between 2011 and 2014. The Hendrich Fall Risk score was recorded for each patient preoperatively and postoperatively. Our main outcome measure was hospital readmission within 30 days of discharge. Results Of 2437 eligible TJA recipients, there were 226 (9.3%) patients who had a score ≥6. These patients were more likely to have an unplanned readmission (unadjusted odds ratio 2.84, 95% confidence interval 1.70-4.76, P < .0001), were more likely to have a length of stay >3 days (49.6% vs 36.6%, P = .0001), and were less likely to be sent home after discharge (20.8% vs 35.8%, P < .0001). The effect of a score ≥6 on readmission remained significant (adjusted odds ratio 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.44-4.13, P = .0009) after controlling for age, paralysis, and the presence of a major psychiatric disorder. Conclusion Increased Hendrich fall risk score after TJA is strongly associated with unplanned readmission. Application of this tool will allow hospitals to identify these patients and plan their discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2077-2081
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Medicare
  • discharge
  • fall risk
  • hip arthroplasty
  • knee arthroplasty
  • readmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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