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Health care utilisation among individuals reporting long-term pain: an epidemiological study based on Danish National Health Surveys

Health care utilisation among individuals reporting long-term pain: an epidemiological study based on Danish National Health Surveys

European Journal of Pain 8(6): 517-523

Individuals reporting long-term pain in the 1994 and 2000 Danish Health and Morbidity Surveys, which included random samples of 6000 and 16,684 persons respectively, were investigated concerning their use of the health care systems. A considerably higher use was observed in the pain population in the primary as well as the secondary health care sector, compared with a no pain control group. In 1994, individuals reporting long-term pain had on average 12.8 contacts per year to the primary health care sector compared with 7.3 for the control group. Use of secondary health care sector as estimated by hospital admission frequency and number of in-hospital days was not only significantly higher for the pain group but showed also an increasing tendency during the periods investigated (1991-1997). Women used the health care system significantly more than men, whereas age did not seem to influence. In conclusion, individuals reporting long-term/chronic pain have a significantly higher use of the health care system than individuals without long-term/chronic pain complaints. Reasons may be ascribed to within-patient factors, factors within the health care system (insufficient knowledge on chronic pain resulting in the seeking after a somatic diagnosis, and difficulties in recognizing the endpoint of reasonable treatment attempts), and societal factors (legislation on disability and compensation).

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Accession: 049192598

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PMID: 15531219

DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2003.12.001

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