Asthma re-admissions higher in low socioeconomic status areas

Rates of hospital re-admission for asthma are higher in areas of low socioeconomic status, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Time trends and geographical variation in hospital re-admissions for asthma, examines the overall rate of hospital re-admissions within 28 days in Australia, looking at time trends and differences according to age, sex, socioeconomic status and remoteness of residence.

‘Hospital re-admission rates for asthma can be an indicator of the quality of care in hospital or in the broader community,’ said Prof Guy Marks of the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring (ACAM), a collaborating unit of the AIHW.

The report suggests that hospital re-admission rates for asthma remained stable between 1996-97 and 2004-05.

However, the rate of hospital re-admissions for asthma was higher in lower socioeconomic status areas and in very remote areas.

‘People living in areas of low socioeconomic status have the highest rates of hospital re-admission for asthma in Australia at around 4.98%,’ Prof Marks said.

‘Our analysis also shows that people living in very remote areas were more likely to be re-admitted to hospital for asthma than those residing in major cities.’

Among the various age groups, adults aged 35 to 64 years had the highest overall hospital re-admission rate of 5.75%, while children aged 5 to 14 years had the lowest at 3.43%.

‘This is in contrast to initial admissions for asthma, where children tend to have higher rates of hospital admission compared to adults,’ Prof Marks said.

Canberra, 7 March 2011

Further information: Prof Guy Marks, ACAM, ph. (02) 9114 0466, mob. 0419 251 565

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer (02) 6244 1032