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AIHW releases report on older patients and hospitalisation

23 September 2013 - 4:19pm

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) recently published a report about what happens to older patients when they are discharged from hospital.

AIHW is a government initiative that provides facts and figures about health and wellbeing in Australia.

The report, titled 'Movement Between Hospital and Residential Aged Care 2008-09,' reveals that of those patients who are aged 65 years or older, the majority are able to return home following hospital treatment. This is opposed to being discharged to a residential care facility.

This is the first time a detailed analysis of hospital use by Australians in residential care has been conducted, according to the AIHW.

Every year, 1.1 million older Australians are admitted to hospitals around the country. Dr Pamela Kinnear, spokesperson for the AIHW, said that 90 per cent of these hospital admissions are for people "who lived at home in the community". The remainder were for people in residential care.

"On leaving hospital, 83 per cent of patients returned to their home in the community and 8 per cent were discharged back to their home in residential care," said Dr Kinnear in a September 20 statement.

The report also demonstrates that around four per cent of all older patients are discharged into transition care or residential aged care after receiving treatment in a hospital.

How old the patient is, as well as whether they are suffering from dementia or not, plays a significant part in where they were released following hospitalisation.

Interestingly, the report shows that older Australians who are still living at home in the community are often admitted to hospital for different reasons than those in residential care.

The former group are more likely to receive hospitalisation for circulatory conditions, revealed Dr Kinnear, while the latter group are often admitted for respiratory illnesses.

Those in residential care are also twice as likely as older Australians living at home to be treated in a hospital after a fall.

If you include hospital cover in your health insurance plan, you can be treated as a private patient in a private hospital, or as a private patient in a public hospital.

Australian health insurance can help you cover expenses such as hospital accommodation, and may also cover ambulance services, which may come in handy as you get older.

If you would like to know more, contact HICA. We can offer you expert advice and a health insurance comparison, so you can choose from a variety of providers and plans.