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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Effects of Drinking on Hospital Stays and Emergency Room Visits Among Older Adults

To evaluate whether alcohol drinking influences emergency room (ER) visits or hospital admissions among adults aged 65 and older.

Data from two independent national surveys are used to estimate multivariate logit models that quantify the relationship between drinking and ER visits and hospital admissions. The authors distinguish between ER visits linked to a hospital admission for that individual and ER visits not linked to an admission.

The authors find no significant effects of alcohol consumption on either ER visits or hospital admissions among older adults. These findings occur in both data sets, and for both men and women. Distinguishing between different types of ER visits makes no difference.

Analysis of two large and nationally representative data sets suggests that among older adults drinking alcohol, or even heavily drinking alcohol, does not raise or lower the risk of a hospital admission or the risk of an ER visit.

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