Relationship of health-related quality of life to health care utilization and mortality among older adults

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2002 Dec;14(6):499-508. doi: 10.1007/BF03327351.


Background and aims: This investigation examined the ability of a four-item Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) scale to predict short-term (30-day) and long-term (1-year) physician visits, hospitalization, and mortality among older adults.

Methods: Subjects included 84065 individuals aged 65 and older who completed a mail version of the Centers for Diseases Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Core HRQOL Module. HRQOL dimensions represented by the module include global self-rated general health, recent physical health, recent mental health, and recent activity limitation.

Results: In analysis of covariance models controlling for demographic factors and comorbidity, the number of physician visits within 30 days and 1 year differed significantly across categories of each HRQOL item. In Cox regression models controlling for the same covariates, all four HRQOL questions were significant predictors of 30-day and 1-year hospitalization and mortality.

Conclusions: These results signify that all four dimensions of HRQOL represented by the BRFSS Core HRQOL Module are important predictors of both short-term and long-term adverse health events among older adults. This brief scale may be particularly useful for assessing the health of older adults in clinical settings and large-scale epidemiological studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians' Offices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results