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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Associations between degree-of-worry, self-rated health and acute hospitalisation after contacting a medical helpline: a Danish prospective cohort study

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Objectives Self-rated health (SRH) is a strong predictor for healthcare utilisation among chronically ill patients. However, its association with acute hospitalisation is unclear. Individuals' perception of urgency in acute illness expressed as degree-of-worry (DOW) is however associated with acute hospitalisation. This study examines DOW and SRH, respectively, and their association with acute hospitalisation within 48 hours after calling a medical helpline. Design A prospective cohort study. Setting The Medical Helpline 1813 (MH1813) in the Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen. Participants Adult (≥18 years of age) patients and relatives/close friends calling the MH1813 between 24 January and 9 February 2017. A total of 6812 callers were included. Outcome measures The primary outcome measure was acute hospitalisation. Callers rated their DOW (1=minimum worry, 5=maximum worry) and SRH (1=excellent, 5=poor). Covariates included age, sex, Charlson Comorbidity Score and reason for calling. Logistic regression was conducted to measure the associations in three models: (1) crude; (2) age-and-sex-adjusted; (3) full fitted model (age, sex, comorbidity, reason for calling, DOW/SRH). Results Of 6812 callers, 492 (7.2%) were acutely hospitalised. Most callers rated their health as being excellent to good (65.3%) and 61% rated their worry to be low (DOW 1-3). Both the association between DOW and acute hospitalisation and SRH and acute hospitalisation indicated a dose-response relationship: DOW 1=ref, 3=1.8 (1.1;3.1), 5=3.5 (2.0;5.9) and SRH 1=ref, 3=0.8 (0.6;1.4), 5=1.6 (1.1;2.4). The association between DOW and acute hospitalisation decreased slightly, when further adjusting for SRH, whereas the estimates for SRH weakened markedly when including DOW. Conclusions DOW and poor SRH were associated with acute hospitalisation. However, DOW had a stronger association with hospitalisation than SRH. This suggests that DOW may capture acutely ill patients' perception of urgency better than SRH in relation to acute hospitalisation after calling a medical helpline.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere042287
JournalBMJ Open
Volume11
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
ISSN2044-6055
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2021

    Research areas

  • Adult, Anxiety, Chronic Disease, Denmark, Health Status, Hospitalization, Humans, Prospective Studies, health & safety, accident & emergency medicine, public health

ID: 65943932