Social deprivation and hospital admission rates, length of stay and readmissions in emergency medical admissions

Eur J Intern Med. 2015 Dec;26(10):766-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2015.09.019. Epub 2015 Oct 21.


Background: Patients from deprived backgrounds have a higher in-patient mortality following an emergency medical admission. How deprivation relates to the admission or readmission incidence rates, episode length of stay (LOS) and ancillary resource utilization is less clear.

Methods: All emergency medical admissions (66,861 episodes in 36,214 patients) between 2002 and 2013, categorized by quintile of Irish National Deprivation Index were assessed against admission or readmission incidence rates (/1000 local population by electoral division), LOS and utilization of five ancillary services. Univariate and multi-variable risk estimates (odds ratios (OR) or incidence rate ratios (IRR)) were calculated, using truncated Poisson regression.

Results: The deprivation index quintile was strongly correlated with the emergency medical admission rate with IRR (as compared with quintile 1) as follows: Q2 1.99 (95% CI: 1.96, 2.01), Q3 3.45 (95% CI: 3.41, 3.49), Q4 3.27 (95% CI: 3.23, 3.31) and Q5 4.29 (95% CI: 4.23, 4.35). LOS was not influenced by deprivation status; although increasing deprivation resulted in increased utilization of social services (OR 1.04: 95% CI: 1.03, 1.06), with a lower requirement for occupational therapy (OR 0.94: 95% CI: 0.93, 0.96) and speech/language services (OR 0.83: 95% CI: 0.80, 0.86). There was a rather decreased use of ancillary services with increasing deprivation; however, the readmission rate was strongly predicted by deprivation status.

Conclusion: Deprivation status strongly influenced the admission and readmission rates for medical patients admitted as emergencies; however, ancillary resource utilization was not increased. Deprivation index will increase demand on hospital resources due to the aggregate effect on both admission and readmission incidence rates.

Keywords: Admission incidence rates; Deprivation index; Emergency medical patients; Resource utilization.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Emergencies* / epidemiology
  • Emergencies* / psychology
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Isolation / psychology*
  • Statistics as Topic