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Hospitalization and Home Health Care


In 2008, there were 35.7 million short-stay hospital discharges. Overall, females had a higher hospital discharge rate than males and accounted for 60 percent of all discharges (1,385.2 versus 964.9 per 10,000 population). However, nearly 20 percent of hospital stays for all females were due to childbirth. When discharges due to childbirth are not counted, the hospital discharge rate for females is more comparable to that for men (1,116.0 per 10,000 population). Six diagnostic categories accounted for over two-thirds of all hospitalizations, excluding childbirth. These included diseases of the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, and genitourinary systems, as well as injury and poisoning. Of these, women had a significantly higher hospital discharge rate than men for diseases of the genitourinary system (89.5 versus 47.5 per 10,000 population), which includes urinary tract infections. Among specific diagnoses, women had a hospitalization rate more than twice that of men for urinary tract infections and hip fractures.

On any given day in 2007, there were about 1.5 million people receiving home health care services. Overall, women account for a greater proportion of users of home health care than men (64.8 versus 35.2 percent, respectively). The proportion of home health care users that are women increases with age. Among those aged 85 years or older, 72.3 percent were women.

As the U.S. population ages, there will be a greater reliance on home health care and on those providing care in the home. Research has found that the burden of care-giving may have numerous physical and emotional health consequences including increased likelihood of chronic disease, fatigue and loss of sleep, stress or anxiety, pain, depression, and headaches.1 As such, the health needs of female caregivers will also need to be addressed.

1 Godfrey JR, Warshaw GA. Toward Optimal Health: Considering the Enhanced Healthcare Needs of Women Caregivers. Journal of Women’s Health. 2009; 18(11): 1739-1742.



Hospital Discharge Rate from Non-Federal, Short-Stay Hospitals, by Diagnosis and Sex, 2008
Diagnosis Rate per 10,000 Population
Female Male
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health Care Statistics. National Hospital Discharge Survey, 2008. Unpublished estimates.
Diseases of the Circulatory System 194.1 210.8
Diseases of the Respiratory System 124.5 111.5
Diseases of the Digestive System 118.7 107.6
Injury and Poisoning 99.3 103.2
Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System 80.2 59.9
Diseases of the Genitourinary System 89.5 47.5
Current Home Health Patients, by Age and Sex, 2007
Age Group Percent of Home Health Patients
Female Male
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Home Health and Hospice Care Survey, 2007. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.
18-64 Years 55.6 44.4
65-74 Years 65.4 34.6
75-84 Years 67.3 32.7
85 Years and Older 72.3 27.7
Total 64.8 35.2

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