Medication-related hospital admissions and readmissions in older patients: an overview of literature

A E M J H Linkens*, V Milosevic, P H M van der Kuy, V H Damen-Hendriks, C Mestres Gonzalvo, K P G M Hurkens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Background The number of medication related hospital admissions and readmissions are increasing over the years due to the ageing population. Medication related hospital admissions and readmissions lead to decreased quality of life and high healthcare costs. Aim of the review To assess what is currently known about medication related hospital admissions, medication related hospital readmissions, their risk factors, and possible interventions which reduce medication related hospital readmissions. Method We searched PubMed for articles about the topic medication related hospital admissions and readmissions. Overall 54 studies were selected for the overview of literature. Results Between the different selected studies there was much heterogeneity in definitions for medication related admission and readmissions, in study population and the way studies were performed. Multiple risk factors are found in the studies for example: polypharmacy, comorbidities, therapy non adherence, cognitive impairment, depending living situation, high risk medications and higher age. Different interventions are studied to reduce the number of medication related readmission, some of these interventions may reduce the readmissions like the participation of a pharmacist, education programmes and transition-of-care interventions and the use of digital assistance in the form of Clinical Decision Support Systems. However the methods and the results of these interventions show heterogeneity in the different researches. Conclusion There is much heterogeneity in incidence and definitions for both medication related hospital admissions and readmissions. Some risk factors are known for medication related admissions and readmissions such as polypharmacy, older age and additional diseases. Known interventions that could possibly lead to a decrease in medication related hospital readmissions are spare being the involvement of a pharmacist, education programs and transition-care interventions the most mentioned ones although controversial results have been reported. More research is needed to gather more information on this topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1251
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Admissions
  • Elderly
  • Medication
  • Polypharmacy
  • Readmissions
  • CARE


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