In-patient hospital use in the last years of life: a Western Australian population-based study

J. Calver, Mahesh Bulsara, D. Boldy

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To estimate the likelihood and costs of in-patient care in the last three years of life.Methods: A population-based retrospective cohort study using linked hospital and death records to evaluate in-patient use by Western Australians who died in 2002.Results: Age was unrelated to the likelihood of in-patient admission and inversely related to in-patient costs, after adjustment for sex, cause of death and proximity to death. In-patient costs increased in the final three quarters before death. In the last quarter before death, the predicted average quarterly in-patient cost increased 2.8 fold from quarter two and 3.8 fold from quarter three.Conclusions: Older decedents were not more likely to be hospitalised than younger decedents in the final three years of life. Moreover, once hospitalised, their in-patient costs were lower. In-patient costs were heavily concentrated in the three last quarters of life. Implications: Remaining lifetime is a significant predictor of in-patient costs. Failure to account for proximity to death will overemphasise the impact of population ageing on health care expenditure, because older people have a higher probability of dying.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-146
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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