Seriously Ill Hospitalized Adults

Do We Spend Less on Older Patients?

Published in: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 44, no. 9, Sep. 1996, p. 1044-1048

Posted on RAND.org on September 01, 1996

by Mary Beth Hamel, Russell S. Phillips, Joan M. Teno, Joanne Lynn, Anthony N. Galanos, Roger B. Davis, Alfred F. Connors, Jr., Robert K. Oye, Norman A. Desbiens, Douglas J Reding, Lee Goldman

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of age on hospital resource use for seriously ill adults, and to explore whether age-related differences in resource use are explained by patients' severity of illness and preferences for life-extending care. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Five geographically diverse academic acute care medical centers participating in the SUPPORT Project. PATIENTS: A total of 4301 hospitalized adults with at least one of nine serious illnesses associated with an average 6-month mortality of 50%. MEASUREMENTS: Resource utilization was measured using a modified version of the Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System (TISS); the performance of three invasive procedures (major surgery, dialysis, and right heart catheter placement); and estimated hospital costs. RESULTS: The median patient age was 65; 43% were female, and 48% died within 6 months. After adjustment for severity of illness, prior functional status, and study site, when compared with patients younger than 50, patients 80 years or older were less likely to undergo major surgery (adjusted odds ratio .46), dialysis (.19), and right heart catheter placement (.59) and had median TISS scores and estimated hospital costs that were 3.4 points and

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