Apr 11, 2024

Seniors receiving home care hospitalised twice as much as aged care residents

Seniors receiving home care hospitalised twice as much as aged care residents
Individuals receiving home care packages spent 7,745 days in hospital per 1,000 individuals, compared to 3,049 days for those in residential aged care. [Source: Shutterstock.]

Recent research conducted by the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) at SAHMRI sheds light on the significant disparities in hospitalisation rates between elderly individuals receiving home care packages and those residing in residential aged care facilities.

This study, published in the Australian Health Review and led by Dr. Stephanie Harrison in collaboration with Flinders University, the University of South Australia, and the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, delved into emergency department (ED) presentations, unplanned hospitalisations, and potentially preventable hospital visits among seniors.

The national data encompassed over 320,000 individuals aged 65 and older from across Australia, revealing stark contrasts in hospitalisation figures.

While 203,278 individuals resided in residential aged care, 118,999 seniors received home care packages in the community.

Dr. Harrison emphasised the staggering discrepancy: “Individuals receiving home care packages spent 7,745 days in hospital per 1,000 individuals, compared to 3,049 days for those in residential aged care,” he said. 

Furthermore, seniors under home care reported a higher incidence of ED presentations, unplanned hospitalisations, and potentially preventable hospital visits compared to their counterparts in residential aged care.

Specifically, individuals with home care packages accounted for 43% of ED presentations, 40% of unplanned hospitalisations, and 12% of preventable hospital visits, contrasting with 38%, 33%, and 8% respectively for those in residential aged care.

Unplanned hospitalisations and ED presentations not only pose challenges for patients but also strain the healthcare system.

Dr. Harrison underscored the significance of these findings, particularly in the context of long-term care settings, urging for concerted efforts to mitigate the high rates of unplanned hospitalisations and ED presentations experienced by a growing number of older Australians.

This research underscores the urgent need for targeted interventions to address the healthcare needs of seniors receiving home care packages, aiming to reduce hospitalisation rates and enhance overall well-being.

As the population ages, it becomes increasingly imperative to optimise care delivery strategies, ensuring seniors receive appropriate support to maintain their health and independence.

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