Jun Jie Benjamin Seng and Yu Heng Kwan contributed equally to this work.
Socioeconomic status (SES) is a well-established determinant of health status and home ownership is a commonly used composite indicator of SES. Patients in low-income households often stay in public rental housing. The association between public rental housing and mortality has not been examined in Singapore.
A retrospective, cohort study was conducted involving all patients who utilized the healthcare facilities under SingHealth Regional Health (SHRS) Services in Year 2012. Each patient was followed up for 5 years. Patients who were non-citizens or residing in a non-SHRS area were excluded from the study.
A total of 147,004 patients were included in the study, of which 7252 (4.9%) patients died during the study period. The mean age of patients was 50.2 ± 17.2 years old and 7.1% (n = 10,400) of patients stayed in public rental housing. Patients who passed away had higher utilization of healthcare resources in the past 1 year and a higher proportion stayed in public rental housing (p < 0.001). They also had higher rates of co-morbidities such as hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes. (p < 0.001) After adjustment for demographic and clinical covariates, residence in public rental housing was associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality (Adjusted hazard ratio: 1.568, 95% CI: 1.469–1.673).
Public rental housing was an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality. More studies should be conducted to understand health-seeking behavior and needs of public rental housing patients, to aid policymakers in formulating better plans for improving their health outcomes.