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Chronic Health Conditions: Changing Prevalence in an Aging Population and Some Implications for the Delivery of Health Care Services

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  • Frank T. Denton
  • Byron G. Spencer

Abstract

Since the prevalence of many chronic health conditions increases with age we might anticipate that as the population ages the proportion with one or more such conditions would rise, as would the cost of treatment. We ask three questions: How much would the overall prevalence of chronic conditions increase in a quarter century if age-specific rates of prevalence did not change? How much would the requirements for health care resources increase in those circumstances? How much difference would it make to those requirements if people had fewer chronic conditions? We conclude that the overall prevalence rates for almost all conditions associated mostly with old age would rise by more than 25 percent and that health care requirements would grow more rapidly than the population – more than twice as rapidly in the case of hospital stays – if the rates for each age group remained constant. We conclude also that even modest reductions in the average number of conditions at each age could result in substantial savings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 259.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:259

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Keywords: Chronic conditions; aging population; health care resources;

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  1. Frank T. Denton & Amiram Gafni & Byron G. Spencer, 2001. "Exploring the Effects of Population Change on the Costs of Physician Services," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 43, McMaster University.
  2. Frank T. Denton & Amiram Gafni & Byron G. Spencer, 2000. "Population Change and the Requirements for Physicians: The Case of Ontario," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 29, McMaster University.
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Cited by:
  1. Ake Blomqvist & Colin Busby, 2012. "Long-Term Care for the Elderly: Challenges and Policy Options," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 367, November.

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