The relationship between clinically relevant depressive symptoms and episodes and duration of all cause hospitalisation in Southern Chinese elderly

Department of Community and Family Medicine, School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR China.
Journal of Affective Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.38). 03/2009; 113(3):272-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.06.008
Source: PubMed


Identification of depression as an independent factor for increased hospital service utilization, or as part of other factors, is important for primary healthcare in possibly preventing use of hospitals. The objective of this study was to study the effects of having clinically relevant depressive symptoms in community dwelling elderly on all cause hospitalization in the elderly.
We administered the validated Chinese version of Geriatric Depression Scale on 3770 men and women aged 65 years and over. Duration and episodes of hospitalization were assessed using 4-monthly telephone interviews and database from the Hospital Authority over a 4-year period. The associations between the presence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms and the number of hospitalizations and duration of hospitalization were studied by multiple Poisson regression analysis.
The presence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms was independently associated with increased episodes (RR: 1.29; CI: 1.16-1.43) and increased length of stay (RR: 1.18; CI: 1.10-1.25) for all cause hospitalization in those with and without chronic conditions at baseline.
Our study relied on self report of chronic medical conditions. As a result, under-diagnosis of diseases and misclassification of disease status could not be excluded.
It was shown that clinically relevant depressive symptoms are independently associated with inpatient utilization over a 4-year period after adjustment for socioeconomic and health status in these elderly subjects. Identification and effective management of depression in primary care may be one way to reduce hospital service utilization in the elderly in China.

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