Social determinants of health and emergency department visits among older adults with multimorbidity: insight from 2010 to 2018 National Health Interview Survey

Arum Lim, Chitchanok Benjasirisan, Xiaoyue Liu, Oluwabunmi Ogungbe, Cheryl Dennison Himmelfarb, Patricia Davidson, Binu Koirala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Multimorbidity is prevalent among older adults and is associated with adverse health outcomes, including high emergency department (ED) utilization. Social determinants of health (SDoH) are associated with many health outcomes, but the association between SDoH and ED visits among older adults with multimorbidity has received limited attention. This study aimed to examine the association between SDoH and ED visits among older adults with multimorbidity. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted among 28,917 adults aged 50 years and older from the 2010 to 2018 National Health Interview Survey. Multimorbidity was defined as the presence of two or more self-reported diseases among 10 common chronic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, asthma, stroke, cancer, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart, kidney, and liver diseases. The SDoH assessed included race/ethnicity, education level, poverty income ratio, marital status, employment status, insurance status, region of residence, and having a usual place for medical care. Logistic regression models were used to examine the association between SDoH and one or more ED visits. Results: Participants’ mean (± SD) age was 68.04 (± 10.66) years, and 56.82% were female. After adjusting for age, sex, and the number of chronic conditions in the logistic regression model, high school or less education (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02–1.19), poverty income ratio below the federal poverty level (AOR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.31–1.59), unmarried (AOR: 1.19, 95% CI: 1.11–1.28), unemployed status (AOR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.23–1.44), and having a usual place for medical care (AOR: 1.46, 95% CI 1.18–1.80) was significantly associated with having one or more ED visits. Non-Hispanic Black individuals had higher odds (AOR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.19–1.38), while non-Hispanic Asian individuals had lower odds (AOR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.59–0.86) of one or more ED visits than non-Hispanic White individuals. Conclusion: SDoH factors are associated with ED visits among older adults with multimorbidity. Systematic multidisciplinary team approaches are needed to address social disparities affecting not only multimorbidity prevalence but also health-seeking behaviors and emergent healthcare access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1153
JournalBMC public health
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Keywords

  • Emergency department
  • Multimorbidity
  • NHIS
  • Social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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