Association Between Symptom Burden and Time to Hospitalization, Nursing Home Placement, and Death Among the Chronically Ill Urban Homebound.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Homebound adults experience significant symptom burden.


To examine demographic and clinical characteristics associated with high symptom burden in the homebound, and to examine associations between symptom burden and time to hospitalization, nursing home placement, and death.


Three hundred eighteen patients newly enrolled in the Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors Program, an urban home-based primary care program, were studied. Patient sociodemographic characteristics, symptom burden (measured via the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale), and incidents of hospitalization, nursing home placement, and death were collected via medical chart review. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to analyze the effect of high symptom burden on time to first hospitalization, nursing home placement, and death.


Of the study sample, 45% had severe symptom burden (i.e., Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale score >6 on at least one symptom). Patients with severe symptom burden were younger (82.0 vs. 85.5 years, P < 0.01), had more comorbid conditions (3.2 vs. 2.5 Charlson score, P < 0.01), higher prevalence of depression (43.4% vs. 12.0%, P < 0.01), lower prevalence of dementia (34.3% vs. 60.6%, P < 0.01), and used fewer hours of home health services (73.6 vs. 94.4 hours/wk, P < 0.01). Severe symptom burden was associated with a shorter time to first hospitalization (hazard ratio = 1.51, 95% CI 1.06-2.15) in adjusted models but had no association with time to nursing home placement or death.


The homebound with severe symptom burden represents a unique cohort of patients who are at increased risk of hospitalization. Tailored symptom management via home-based primary and palliative care programs may prevent unnecessary health care utilization in this population.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yang, N; Ornstein, KA; Reckrey, JM

Published Date

  • July 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 73 - 80

PubMed ID

  • 27033155

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5369236

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-6513

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0885-3924

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2016.01.006


  • eng