Age Differences in the Rates and Costs of Medical Procedures and Hospitalization during the Last Year of Life

Demers, Marie
June 1998
Canadian Journal on Aging;Summer98, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p186
Academic Journal
The aim of this study was to investigate the age differences in the rates and costs of broad categories of medical procedures (diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical) during the last year of life as well as hospitalization among the adult population of Quebec. The study is population-based and took into account 90 per cent of deaths occurring among the Quebec population (15 years and older) in 1991. The data were collected from the physician claim files of the Health Insurance Board. Costs were defined as physician payments for the procedures performed. The results showed that the rates of these procedures increase with age to reach a maximum in middle life and then decrease among the elderly. A similar trend was observed in the average cost of surgery and diagnostic procedures but the average cost of therapeutic procedures followed a constant decline with age. These data suggest that the oldest old do not seem to get more aggressive care at the end of life than younger decedents.


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