The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 7, 2077 - 2081

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

Ravi, Bheeshma et al.
Hip Knee


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.


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.


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.


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.

Download article