Background: The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted post-hospitalization care facilities in the United States and hindered their ability to accept new patients for various reasons. This study aimed to assess the impact of the pandemic on discharge disposition after colon surgery and associated postoperative outcomes. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed using the National Surgical Quality Improvement Participant Use File and targeted colectomy. Patients were divided into the following 2 cohorts: (1) pre-pandemic (2017–2019) and (2) pandemic (2020). The primary outcomes included discharge disposition—post-hospitalization facility versus home. The secondary outcomes were rates of 30-day readmissions and other postoperative outcomes. The multivariable analysis assessed for confounders and effect modification on discharge to home. Results: Discharge to posthospitalization facilities decreased by 30% in 2020 compared to 2017 to 2019 (7% vs 10%, P <.001). This occurred despite an increase in emergency cases (15% vs 13%, P <.001) and open surgical approach (32% vs 31%, P <.001) in 2020. Multivariable analysis revealed that patients in 2020 had 38% lower odds of going to post-hospitalization facilities (odds ratio 0.62, P <.001) after adjusting for surgical indications and underlying comorbidities. This decrease in patients going to a post-hospitalization facility was not associated with an increased length of stay or an increase in 30-day readmissions or postoperative complications. Conclusion: During the pandemic, patients undergoing colonic resection were less likely to be discharged to a post-hospitalization facility. This shift was not associated with an increase in 30-day complications. This should prompt further research to assess the reproducibility of these associations, especially in a setting without a global pandemic.
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