Hospital admissions of older people for oral health-related conditions: implications for the future

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    Objective: This study analysed all hospitalisations of persons over the age of 65 years for oral health-related conditions, over a decade, and projected future hospitalisation rates. Background: The proportion of older Australians is increasing, and their oral health is improving. At the same time, there is concern about the increasing burden that hospitalisations place on government health budgets. Methods: Hospitalisation data of all patients older than 65 years, admitted to hospital for an oral health-related condition in Western Australia over a decade, were analysed. Results: Over a ten-year period, a total of 11608 people over the age of 65 were admitted to hospital, with 10% 85 years and older, 52% were men, and 0.1% were Aboriginal patients. The highest rates of hospitalisation were for those from the most disadvantaged areas. Over ten years, there was a significant annual increase in rates of hospitalisation (4.4%). Overall, most admissions were for ‘Malignant neoplasms’ (16.6%), ‘Dental caries’ (15.4%) and ‘Other disorders of the teeth and supporting structures’ (14.3%). These three conditions accounted for almost half of all admissions (46.4%). Projections indicate high future burdens of hospitalisation. Conclusions: It is of concern that hospitalisations for oral health-related reasons among the oldest patients include high numbers with potentially preventable conditions such as dental caries. Projections indicate that if current trends are set to continue, hospitalisations for oral health-related conditions among Western Australians older than 65 years will place a considerable burden on the health system. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S and The Gerodontology Association. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)490-498
    Number of pages9
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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