AHRQ: Preventable hospital stays for elderly declined between 2003 and 2007

Noting that adults aged 65 and older accounted for one-third of U.S. hospitalizations in 2007, an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) statistical brief found that the rate of potentially preventable hospitalizations for certain chronic and acute conditions declined for elderly patients between 2003 and 2007, but remained consistently higher than rates for adults ages 18 to 64.

Highlights in the AHRQ brief  include:

  • In 2007, rates of potentially preventable hospitalizations for diabetes, chronic respiratory conditions, chronic cardiac conditions, and acute conditions were consistently higher for adults aged 65 and over than for younger adults.
  • Between 2003 and 2007, rates of potentially preventable hospitalizations declined faster among older adults than among younger adults
  • Among older adults, the rate of hospital stays for angina without procedure fell by almost half and the rate of stay for congestive heart failure fell by about one quarter.
  • The rate of hospital stays for diabetes decreased by 8 percent among older adults between 2003 and 2007. In contrast, the rate of these stays among younger adults increased from 18.2 discharges to 19.4 discharges per 10,000 population.
  • In nine of eleven categories of potentially preventable hospitalizations, hospitalization rates declined more rapidly or rose less rapidly for older adults than for younger adults between 2005 and 2007.

 (SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, December 17, 2009; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, http://ahrq.gov, accessed December 22, 2009)