Objective: To identify demographic predictors of hospital admission for chronic disease.
Methods: Hospital morbidity records were extracted from the WA Data Linkage System for the period 1994-99 for specific chronic diseases based on national priorities. Poisson regression was used to estimate the effects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) descent, co-morbidity, geography, socio-economic status and possession of health insurance on hospital admission rates.
Results: This study has identified some of the main demographic risk factors for hospitalisation in patients with chronic disease as the following: being male, of ATSI descent, living in a relatively disadvantaged Census Collection District and having multiple co-morbidities. Depending on the disease, locational disadvantage and possession of private health insurance were also risk factors.
Conclusions: The study indicates that a crucial component in keeping patients with chronic disease out of hospital is ensuring quality primary care for all members of the community, equipping patients with the necessary skills to self-manage their chronic condition. Particular attention must be given to developing programs that are accessible to the more disadvantaged members of the community.
Implications: Programs aimed at keeping patients with chronic disease out of hospital must be targeted at the most vulnerable groups of the population if they are to be effective.