Every winter, UK hospitals experience a surge in respiratory admissions. Social circumstance may be an important determinant. This case-control study was undertaken to establish the most important factors causing winter hospital admissions among older people presenting with acute respiratory disease. The study found that socioeconomic factors had little relative effect compared with medical and functional factors. Most important were having long-term medical conditions, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (odds ratio 4.0; 95% confidence interval = 1.4 to 11.4), being housebound, and history of oral steroid treatment. Socially-isolated patients also had increased risk.
- socioeconomic factors
- respiratory tract infections
- winter pressures
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease