Utility of hospitalization for elderly individuals affected by COVID-19.

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    • Source:
      Publisher: Public Library of Science Country of Publication: United States NLM ID: 101285081 Publication Model: eCollection Cited Medium: Internet ISSN: 1932-6203 (Electronic) Linking ISSN: 19326203 NLM ISO Abbreviation: PLoS One Subsets: MEDLINE
    • Publication Information:
      Original Publication: San Francisco, CA : Public Library of Science
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    • Abstract:
      Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of individuals needing hospital admission has sometimes exceeded the availability of hospital beds. Since hospitalization can have detrimental effects on older individuals, preference has been given to younger patients. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of hospitalization for elderly affected by COVID-19. We hypothesized that their mortality decreases when there is greater access to hospitals.
      Methods: This study examined 1902 COVID-19 patients consecutively admitted to three large hospitals in Milan, Italy. Overall mortality data for Milan from the same period was retrieved. Based on emergency department (ED) data, both peak and off-peak phases were identified. The percentage of elderly patients admitted to EDs during these two phases were compared by calculating the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of the individuals younger than, versus older than, 80 years.
      Results: The median age of the patients hospitalized during the peak phase was lower than the median age during the off-peak phase (64 vs. 75 years, respectively; p <0.001). However, while the SMR for the younger patients was lower during the off-peak phase (1.98, 95% CI: 1.72-2.29 versus 1.40, 95% CI: 1.25-1.58, respectively), the SMR was similar between both phases for the elderly patients (2.28, 95% CI: 2.07-2.52 versus 2.48, 95% CI: 2.32-2.65, respectively).
      Conclusions: Greater access to hospitals during an off-peak phase did not affect the mortality rate of COVID-19-positive elderly patients in Milan. This finding, if confirmed in other settings, should influence future decisions regarding resource management of health care organizations.
      Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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      Date Created: 20210426 Date Completed: 20210507 Latest Revision: 20210507
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