142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Influences of health behaviors and community characteristics on preventable hospitalizations among seniors

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 11:05 AM - 11:20 AM

Becky Spitzer , Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Anna Schenck, PhD, MSPH , Public Health Leadership Program, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Abstract: Influences of health behaviors and community characteristics on preventable hospitalizations among seniors

Background: Although we know how health behaviors can have direct effects on our nation’s overall health, as documented through America’s Health Rankings, we often don’t think about the acute effects it can have on the senior populations.

Purpose: The purpose of the current study was to compare the association between preventable hospitalizations among seniors (discharges for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions per 1,000 Medicare enrollees) and external factors like community characteristics and health behaviors

Methods: Nationwide data, broken down by state, compiled from the America’s Health Rankings 2013 Senior Report was analyzed to determine the presence of any relationship. Multivariate models were used to examine associations between preventable hospitalizations and community characteristics (community and social support, home health care, and low-care nursing homes) and health behaviors (smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity). 

Results: There appears to be a strong positive association (p<0.05) between preventable hospitalizations and both physical inactivity and smoking, which can explain 61% and 27% of the variation, respectively, among seniors across states. States with seniors who report doing no physical activity or exercise and/or high levels of smoking are very likely to also have a high number of preventable hospitalizations.

Conclusions: When states have high levels of physical inactivity and smoking, especially among senior populations, many other aspects of health begin to deteriorate, causing unwanted and unnecessary trips to the hospital. The effects of this take a toll on both taxpayer dollars and local resources.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify barriers to overall health in senior populations that provoke unnecessary hospitalizations in order to plan future interventions

Keyword(s): Aging, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a master's student in the Public Health Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently hold a graduate research position on the scientific advisory committee for America's Health Rankings, which produces the senior index, the subject of this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.