The life expectancy of the German population has steadily risen in the course of the past decades. As especially the oldest members of the population are treated in geriatric clinics, it would be of interest to investigate whether the increase in population age can also be found among geriatric inpatients.
Patients and methods
The demographic data of inpatients of a geriatric clinic in Hannover in the years 1994, 2004 and 2014 were analyzed according to age, gender and classification as acute care or geriatric rehabilitation.
The mean patient age rose by 6 years in the past two decades. This was the case for both men and women but the age of men (+7.5 years) rose more than that of women (+4.9 years). Whereas the patient average age increased, especially in the first decade (+3.9 years), this increase slowed down in the following decade (+1.7 years). The 80 to 89-year-old patients remained the biggest and steadily increasing group (in 1994: 41.1%, 2004: 46.9% and 2014: 51.3%). The greatest increase, however, was found for those aged 90 years and older (1994: 4.8%, 2004: 12.2% and 2014: 17.7%).
The results confirm the professional experiences of many geriatricians in that they care for an increasingly aging clientele. Particularly very old male patients in geriatric clinics are increasing. All health professional groups involved will have to face this challenge.