Dying people and older people have often been thought of as high users of hospitals, but current population-based evidence is needed to confirm or refute this claim.
Quantitative population-based study designed to identify and describe hospital patients who are high users.
Data for all 2014–2015 Canadian hospital patients (excluding Quebec) were analyzed to identify and describe high users through descriptive-comparative and regression analysis tests.
Only a small proportion of patients are high users in relation to multiple admissions or 30+ inpatient days of care, and with considerable diversity among them and relatively few of these advanced in age or dying in hospital.
Relatively few patients are high users of hospitals. These people are most often under age 65, so they have the potential to be ill and high users for many years. Flagging would enable individualized care planning to reduce illness exacerbations or slow disease progression and address other risk factors for long or repeat hospitalizations.