Healthcare utilization among pre-frail and frail Puerto Ricans

Cheyanne Barba, Brian Downer, Olivio J. Clay, Richard Kennedy, Erin Ballard, Michael Crowe

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Frailty is associated with adverse health outcomes and greater healthcare utilization. Less is known about the relationship between frailty and healthcare utilization in Puerto Rico, where high rates of chronic conditions and limited healthcare may put this group at a higher likelihood of using healthcare resources. This study examined the association between pre-frailty and frailty with healthcare utilization at baseline and 4-year follow-up among a cohort of community dwelling Puerto Ricans living on the island. We examined data from 3,040 Puerto Ricans (mean age 70.6 years) from The Puerto Rican Elderly: Health Conditions (PREHCO) study between 2002-2003 and 2006-2007. We used a modified version of the Fried criteria defined as 3 or more of the following: shrinking, weakness, poor energy, slowness, and low physical activity. Pre-frailty was defined as 1-2 components. The number of emergency room visits, hospital stays, and doctor visits within the last year were self-reported. Zero-inflated negative binomial regression models were used for ER visits and hospital stays. Negative binomial models were used for doctor visits. Pre-frailty was associated with a higher rate of doctor visits with a rate ratio of 1.11 (95% CI = 1.01-1.22) at baseline. Frailty was associated with a higher rate of ER visits (1.48, 95% CI = 1.13-1.95), hospital stays (1.69, 95% CI = 1.08-2.65), and doctor visits (1.24, 95% CI = 1.10-1.39) at baseline. Pre-frailty and frailty were not associated with any healthcare outcomes at follow-up. Pre-frailty and frailty are associated with an increased rate of healthcare services cross-sectionally among Puerto Rican adults, which may cause additional burdens on the already pressured healthcare infrastructure on the island.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0280128
JournalPloS one
Issue number1 January
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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