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VOLUME 52 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2017

The Dynamics of Hospital Use among Older People Evidence for Europe Using SHARE Data

Objective: Hospital services use, which is a major driver of total health expenditures, is expected to rise over the next decades in Europe, especially because of population aging. The purpose of this article is to better understand the dynamics of older people's demand for hospital care over time in a cross-country setting.

Data source: We used data from the Survey on Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), in 10 countries between 2004 and 2011.

Study Design: We estimated a dynamic panel model of hospital admission for respondents aged 50 years or more.

Principal Findings: Following prior research, we found evidence of state dependence in hospital use over time. We also found that rise in frailty—among other health covariates—is a strong predictor of increased hospital use. Progression by one point on the frailty scale [0;5] is associated with an additional risk of about 2.1 percent on average.

Conclusions: Our results support promotion of early detection of frailty in primary care, and improvement of coordination between actors within the health system, as potential strategies to reduce avoidable or unnecessary hospital use among frail elderly.

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