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Association of US Dialysis Facility Staffing with Profiling of Hospital-Wide 30-Day Unplanned Readmission

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license


Unplanned hospital readmissions are a major source of morbidity among dialysis patients, in whom the risk of hospital readmission is exceptionally high. The contribution of dialysis facility staffing to hospital readmission has been largely overlooked.


Using annual data of dialysis patients from the United States Renal Data System from 2010 to 2013, we assessed dialysis facilities with a significantly worse (SW) and facilities with a nonsignificant (NS) standardized readmission ratio (SRR). SRR estimates were risk adjusted for patient factors, past year comorbidities, and index hospitalization characteristics. Facility staffing variables were compared between 2 exposure groups: facilities with SW and NS SRRs. Four measures of staffing, including patient-to-staffing ratio, were compared between SW and matched NS facilities.


About 136,000-148,000 dialysis patients with 269,000-319,000 index hospital discharges were used to identify facilities with SW and facilities with NS SRR annually. Approximately 3-4% of facilities were identified as having SW SRR among > 5,000 facilities annually. The percent of nurses-to-total staff was significantly lower in 2010 for SW facilities than in matched NS facilities (42.5 vs. 45.6%, p = 0.012), but this disparity was attenuated by 2013 (44.8 vs. 44.7%, p = 0.949). There was a higher patient-to-nurse ratio for SW facilities than for NS facilities (mean 16.4 vs. 15.2, p = 0.038) in 2010 as well, and the disparity was reduced by 2013. The trends were similar for patient-to-total staff and patient-to-registered nurse, but not statistically significant.


This study found that dialysis facilities with SW 30-day readmission rates had lower proportions of nurses-to-total staff and higher patient-to-nurse ratios, but this disparity improved in recent years. Additional research is warranted focusing on how evidence-based staffing at dialysis facilities can contribute to reduction of hospital readmission, and this knowledge is needed to inform clinical practice guidelines and policy decisions regarding optimal dialysis patient staffing.

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