Health

Elderly at higher risk of death when spouse is hospitalized

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 6, 2006

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Those 65 and older who are married to someone who is admitted to the hospital are more likely to die within the next year than those who have a healthy spouse, but this varies by gender and the reason for the hospitalization, according to a study in the Feb. 16 New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers analyzed the claims data of more than 500,000 seniors enrolled in Medicare in 1993 and followed them for nine years. Overall, a man's risk of dying if their spouse was severely ill was 22%. It was only 16% for women. Men had a 6% increased risk of death if their spouse had colon cancer; women's risk increased by 3%. Dementia in a spouse increased a woman's risk to 5%; a man's risk increased 9%.

The authors called for strategies to address issues that could come up for caregivers and that might cause this phenomenon.

"It seems clear that a person's illness or death can have health consequences for others in his or her social network," said Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, lead author and professor in the Dept. of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Our work suggests that interventions might decrease the mortality of caregivers."

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/03/06/hlbf0306.htm.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn