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Title: Emergency hospital admissions among older adults living alone in the community
Authors: Barrenetxea, Jon
Tan, Kelvin Bryan
Tong, Rachel
Chua, Kevin
Feng, Qiushi 
Koh, Woon-Puay 
Chen, Cynthia 
Keywords: Ageing in place
Chronic disease
Healthcare costs
Independent living
Length of stay
Patient admission
Issue Date: 3-Nov-2021
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd
Citation: Barrenetxea, Jon, Tan, Kelvin Bryan, Tong, Rachel, Chua, Kevin, Feng, Qiushi, Koh, Woon-Puay, Chen, Cynthia (2021-11-03). Emergency hospital admissions among older adults living alone in the community. BMC Health Services Research 21 (1) : 1192. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Background: Among older adults, living alone is often associated with higher risk of Emergency Department (ED) admissions. However, older adults living alone are very heterogeneous in terms of health. As more older adults choose to live independently, it remains unclear if the association between living alone and ED admissions is moderated by health status. We studied the association between living alone and ED admission outcomes (number of admissions, inpatient days and inpatient costs) among older adults with and without multimorbidity. Methods: We used data from 16,785 individuals of the third follow-up of the Singapore Chinese Health Study, a population-based cohort of older Singapore Chinese (mean age: 73(61-96) years). Participants were interviewed face-to-face from 2014 to 2016 for sociodemographic/health factors and followed-up for one year on ED admission outcomes using Singapore Ministry of Health’s Mediclaim Database. We first applied multivariable logistic regression and two-part models to test if living alone is a risk factor for ED admission outcomes. We then ran stratified and joint effect analysis to examine if the associations between living alone and ED admission outcomes were moderated by multimorbidity. Results: Compared to living with others, living alone was associated with higher odds of ED admission [Odds Ratio (OR) 1.28, 95 % Confidence Interval(CI) 1.08-1.51)], longer inpatient days (+0.61, 95 %CI 0.25-0.97) and higher inpatient costs (+322 USD, 95 %CI 54-591). The interaction effects of living arrangement and multimorbidity on ED admissions and inpatient costs were not statistically different, whereas the interaction between living arrangements and multimorbidity on inpatient days was borderline significant (p-value for interaction=0.050). Compared to those living with others and without multimorbidity, the relative mean increase was 1.13 inpatient days (95 %CI 0.39-1.86) for those living alone without multimorbidity, and 0.73 inpatient days (95 %CI 0.29-1.17) for those living alone with multimorbidity. Conclusions: Older adults living alone were at higher risk of ED admission and higher inpatient costs regardless of multimorbidity, while those living alone without multimorbidity had the longest average inpatient days. To enable aging in place while avoiding ED admissions, interventions could provide instrumental support and regular health monitoring to older adults living alone, regardless of their health status. © 2021, The Author(s).
Source Title: BMC Health Services Research
ISSN: 1472-6963
DOI: 10.1186/s12913-021-07216-3
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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