The effects of older age on the initial spine care of patients with acute spine trauma
1Furlan J, 2G M, 1Craven B
1Lyndhurst Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute & University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2Toronto Western Hospital and University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Objective: Aging of the population has prompted an escalation of service utilization and costs in many jurisdictions including North America. Yet, the economic impact of the caring for the elderly with spine trauma remains incompletely understood. This study was undertaken to examine the potential effects of age on the service utilization and costs of the management of patients with acute spine trauma (AST).
Design/Method: This retrospective cohort study included consecutive patients with AST admitted to an acute spine care unit of a Canadian tertiary university hospital between February/2002 and September/2007. The study population was grouped into elderly (age of 65 years or older at the time of trauma) and younger individuals. All costing data were converted and updated to US dollars in June/2017.
Results: There were 55 women and 91 men with AST (age range from 16 to 92 years, mean age of 49.9 years) of whom 37 were elderly. The mean total hospital costs for initial admission after AST in the elderly (USD$ 19,338 ± $4,892) were significantly greater than among younger individuals (USD$ 13,775 ± $1,344). However, elderly people had significantly lower per diem total, fixed, direct and indirect costs for AST than younger individuals. Both groups were comparable regarding the proportion of services utilized in the acute care hospital.
Conclusion: Given the escalating demand for surgical and nonsurgical spine treatment in the age of aging population, the results of this study timely underline key aspects the economic impact of the spine care of the elderly. Further investigations are needed to fulfill significant knowledge gaps on the economics of caring for elderly with AST.
Support: The first author receives salary support from the Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation
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