A large number of people in permanent residential aged care aged 65 years or more are hospitalised, some for reasons that are potentially preventable, according to research by the Office of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
In 2018/19, 36.9% of residents presented to an emergency department at least once. 31.1% of residents were admitted to a public hospital at least once (increasing to roughly 37% when private hospital admissions are included), the data show.
In 2018/19, 10.5% of residents were hospitalised for a fall; 5.4% for a fracture; 3.4% for a pressure injury; and 1.9% for weight loss or malnutrition.
Potentially avoidable hospitalisations from aged care facilities can be caused by a wide range of conditions, including inadequate ambulatory care, inadequate assistance with daily activities, and inadequate monitoring and treatment of chronic conditions
The results are presented in Research Paper 18 – Hospitalisations in Australian Aged Care: 2014/15–2018/19.
This is the first time aged care hospitalisation rates have been calculated at a national level. Information like this can assist consumers to choose between aged care services, assist the regulator to address non-compliance with care standards, and assist providers to continually improve the quality of the services they deliver.