Do we die as we live? Age, socioeconomic status, healthcare utilisation and pathways to death in Ireland

‘Do we die as we age? Age, socioeconomic status, healthcare utilisation and pathways to death in Ireland’ is a four-year project funded by the Health Research Board (2018-2021). The project team comprises the principal investigator Professor Rose Anne Kenny (TCD), co-applicants Dr Anne Nolan (ESRI), Dr Patrick Moore (University of Birmingham) and Professor Charles Normand (TCD), and post-doctoral researcher Dr Mark Ward (TCD).

The objective of the project is to use data from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) linked to death certificate records administered by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to examine three key issues:

  1. How does mortality vary across socioeconomic groups in the over 50s in Ireland? Are those with lower education, lower occupational class and lower incomes/wealth likely to die younger than their more advantaged counterparts, and do they die of different causes?
  2. To what extent does better access to the healthcare system reduce mortality from amenable causes, i.e., causes of death that could be prevented with timely and effective healthcare?
  3. What are the determinants of healthcare utilisation and costs at the end of life in Ireland? How do utilisation and costs vary by socioeconomic status and disease groups?

The evidence uncovered in this project will assist policymakers in designing interventions to reduce health inequalities and improve population health. It will allow better projections of future patterns of needs and costs. In addition, the creation of a new data infrastructure for the analysis of mortality in the over 50s in Ireland will facilitate further research on mortality in Ireland.