Variation in Age at First Hospital Admission for an Ageing Population: A Register-Based Study of the Danish Population 1987–2014

Rosie Seaman , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Andreas Höhn, MPDIR Rostock and SDU Odense
Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen, Max Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging
Pekka Martikainen, University of Helsinki
Kaare Christensen, University of Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital

Health at older ages shows contrasting trends between self-reported measures of chronic diseases, disability and functional limitations. Hospital admissions data provide an alternative, objective indicator for the onset of health deterioration. Average age at first hospital admission has increased over time, indicating a delayed onset of health deterioration but it is not yet known if this has been accompanied by decreasing variation in age at admission. Decreasing variation would reflect decreasing uncertainty in the age at first hospital admission after age 60. Using total population data for Denmark (1987-2014) we construct sex specific, annual period life tables for hospital admission and calculate trends in the standard deviation. Over time, a smaller proportion of people were hospitalized at younger ages alongside an larger proportion at older ages. This may indicate improvements in (i) the health of ageing populations or (ii) preventive and community care. Examining variation trends for cause specific hospital admissions may help to disentangle this.

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 Presented in Session 80. Flash Session: Innovation in Demographic Methods