To determine whether self-rated health is a prognostic factor of six-week mortality, independently of other known objective prognostic factors.
The SAFMA study was a prospective cohort, which recruited patients from the University Hospital of Martinique Acute Care for Elders unit (French West Indies) from January to June 2012. Patients aged 75 or older and hospitalized for an acute condition were eligible. The outcome was time to death within the six-week follow-up. The main explanatory variable was self-rated health. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were considered as covariates. Cox’s proportional hazards model was used.
The mean age of the 223 patients included was 85.1 ± 5.5 years. Six-week mortality rate was 14.8 %; none were lost to follow-up. In total, 123 claimed “very good to good” health, and 100 “medium to very poor” health. Self-rated health was the only independent prognostic factor associated with 6-week mortality (hazard ratio 2.61; 95 % confidence interval 1.18–5.77; p = .02), when adjusting for known prognostic factors such as age, dimensions of the comprehensive geriatric assessment and comorbidity burden.
The association between self-rated health and short-term mortality could have implications for clinical practice, particularly in helping in the estimation of prognosis in acute care setting.