, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 499-508
Date: 10 Oct 2013

Relationship of health-related quality of life to health care utilization and mortality among older adults

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Background and aims: This investigation examined the ability of a four-item Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) scale to predict short-term (30-day) and long-term (1-year) physician visits, hospitalization, and mortality among older adults. Methods: Subjects included 84065 individuals aged 65 and older who completed a mail version of the Centers for Diseases Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Core HRQOL Module. HRQOL dimensions represented by the module include global self-rated general health, recent physical health, recent mental health, and recent activity limitation. Results: In analysis of covariance models controlling for demographic factors and comorbidity, the number of physician visits within 30 days and 1 year differed significantly across categories of each HRQOL item. In Cox regression models controlling for the same covariates, all four HRQOL questions were significant predictors of 30-day and 1-year hospitalization and mortality. Conclusions: These results signify that all four dimensions of HRQOL represented by the BRFSS Core HRQOL Module are important predictors of both short-term and long-term adverse health events among older adults. This brief scale may be particularly useful for assessing the health of older adults in clinical settings and large-scale epidemiological studies.