Objectives: To examine whether the first admission to hospital after the age of 60 has been postponed to higher ages for men and women in Sweden, in line with the shift in mortality.
Design: This nationwide observational study was based on data obtained from national registries in Sweden. The study cohort was created by linking the Register of the Total Population in Sweden with the National Patient Register and the Swedish Cause of Death Register.
Setting: The entire Swedish population born between 1895 and 1950 was followed up between 1987 and 2010 with respect to hospital admissions and deaths using the national registry data.
Primary outcome measures: The time from age 60 until the first admission to the hospital, regardless of the diagnosis, and the time from age 60 until death (remaining life expectancy, LE) were estimated for the years 1995–2010. The difference between these two measures was also estimated for the same period.
Results: Between 1995 and 2010 mortality as well as first hospital admission shifted to higher ages. The average time from age 60, 70, 80 and 90 until the first hospital admission increased at all ages. The remaining LE at age 60, 70 and 80 increased for men and women. For the 90-year-olds it was stable.
Conclusions: In Sweden, the first hospital admission after the age of 60 has been pushed to higher ages in line with mortality for the ages 60 and above. First admission to the hospital could indicate the onset of first severe morbidity; however, the reorganisation of healthcare may also have influenced the observed trends.
2013. Vol. 3, no 9, e003447- p.