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Rehabilitation Needs in the 1990s: Effects of an Aging Population

Thomas W. Findley and Sally E. Findley
Medical Care
Vol. 25, No. 8 (Aug., 1987), pp. 753-763
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3765711
Page Count: 11
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Rehabilitation Needs in the 1990s: Effects of an Aging Population
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Abstract

The number of physically disabled persons has risen in the past few decades. Acute rehabilitation will continue to increase in importance as a result of the disease and age structure of the population, as well as current hospital reimbursement practices. This project quantifies the continued rise to be expected into the 1990s on the basis of increasing age of the population, using census and hospital discharge data for the state of Rhode Island, which has a population of almost 1 million and is well suited to demographic studies. Although Rhode Island's population is expected to increase by only 3% between 1980 and 1990, a 20% increase is expected for persons over age 65. Age-specific national disability rates applied to these projections show an increase of 7% in persons with activity limitations, with those over age 65 constituting 58% of those with limitations. The most severely disabled, those requiring inpatient rehabilitation, are increasing even more. Estimates of inpatient rehabilitation for the recently disabled person show an increase of 15% by methods developed here based on acute hospitalization data.

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