Aged care reduces hospitalisations for people with dementia

Australians living with dementia who move into residential aged care after a hospital stay are less likely to be readmitted to hospital within one year than those who return to living in the community, says a report.

Australians living with dementia who move into residential aged care after a hospital stay are less likely to be readmitted to hospital within one year than those who return to living in the community, says a report.

Released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the report – Transition to residential aged care after hospital for people with dementia – finds that around four in 10 people living with dementia who entered an aged care facility after hospitalisation were readmitted to hospital within a year (38 per cent), a much lower rate than those who continued living in the community – six in 10 (62 per cent).

Those living in an aged care home were also less likely to present to an emergency department – 50 per cent compared to 63 per cent.

Louise Gates

“Having a better understanding of how people with dementia access health services and move between hospitals and residential aged care can contribute to improvements in the health and aged care systems and policies to better meet the needs of Australians living with dementia,” said AIHW spokesperson Louise Gates.

The report also finds that – in a single year – 79,000 people aged 65-plus living with dementia were hospitalised. Of these people, 62 per cent (49,000 people) were living in the community while the remainder (39,000) lived in residential aged care.

“One in four of those people who lived in the community prior to their hospitalisation moved to residential aged care within one week of leaving hospital. This increased to one in three at three months (33 per cent) and to 37 per cent at 12 months after leaving hospital,” Ms Gates said.  

The AIHW report used data from the National Integrated Health Services Information, which brings together linked data on hospital care, deaths, residential aged care services, prescription medication and services under the Medical Benefits Schedule.

Analysing linked data provides insights into how people with dementia access health services and move between hospitals and residential aged care.

The aged care royal commission recommended better integration between health and aged care systems to improve outcomes for older Australians. It also recommended structural changes in data capture to allow the interaction between health and aged care systems to be better monitored.  

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