Less Money Equals More Hospital Visits
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Hospitals see their fair share of unexpected visitors needing medical assistance, but could your number of chronic medical problems or economic status be responsible for more unplanned stops at the hospital? According to a new study, individuals with multiple health problems have more unexpected hospital visits, especially if the person suffers from mental illness or is of a low economic status.
After analyzing data collected from 180,815 people in Scotland, researchers determined how many participants had unexpected hospital admissions and then looked at three specific factors: multimorbidity (having more than one chronic illness), mental illness, and economic status.
Researchers discovered that out of the 6% of participants who had at least one unplanned hospital admission, 34% had multiple chronic health problems and 43% had a mental illness. The association is even higher when looking at unplanned hospital admissions that might have been preventable.
It was also found that the likelihood of having multimorbidity or mental illness is higher amongst people living in low socioeconomic areas, possibly because these groups have less access to community resources. However, economic status seemed to have a strong effect on a person’s number of unplanned hospital admissions even after controlling for multiple chronic health problems and mental illness.
Individuals in the lowest economic group had rate of 8% for unplanned hospital admissions. That is double the rate for individuals in the highest economic group.
Seeing how much of a difference economic status makes in terms of a person’s health emphasizes the need for better health care for people of a low economic status. Hopefully, more accessible resources and increased awareness will be able to bridge the health gap in the future.
Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal, February 2013