Long hospital stays predict admission to aged care

A new report from the AIHW sheds light on the links between hospital and aged care.

Older people admitted to hospital were much more likely to enter residential aged care if their stay in acute care was a long one, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report shows that in 2001-02, 21,800 people aged 65 and over went into residential aged care following a hospital episode, compared to 16,600 who came from the community.

Those people who went straight into residential care spent an average of 24 consecutive days in hospital before being discharged.

For those who returned to the community, the average length of stay was just four days.

Other major predictors of entry to residential aged care included having dementia, being older, widowed or single and undergoing palliative or rehabilitation care in hospital.

About a fifth of people admitted to permanent residential aged care were “awaiting admission elsewhere”.

“The wait could have several causes, including the time needed to enable patients to be assessed for care, and for them and their families to decide on a move to residential aged care, and to then find suitable places and make the final choice,” said report co-author, Dr Phil Anderson.

Looking at survival data, the report found that a quarter of people admitted to residential aged care died within seven months.

Within 14 months, half of all new admissions had died but 40 per cent were still alive after three years.

Click here to see a PDF of the full report

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