Aged Care

Study finds home care recipients spend more time in hospitals than aged care residents


Recent research conducted by the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) at SAHMRI sheds light on the healthcare experiences of seniors, revealing that individuals receiving home care packages spend significantly more time in hospitals compared to those living in residential aged care.

The study, featured in the Australian Health Review and carried out in collaboration with Flinders University, the University of South Australia, and the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, was spearheaded by Dr Stephanie Harrison. It examined various aspects such as emergency department (ED) visits, unplanned hospitalisations, potentially preventable hospitalisations and overall hospital stays.

Drawing from national data encompassing individuals aged 65 and above from across Australia, the study observed 203,278 residents in aged care facilities and 118,999 seniors receiving home care packages in the community.

Dr Harrison noted: “We found individuals receiving home care packages spent 7,745 days in hospital per 1,000 individuals, compared to 3,049 days for individuals living in residential aged care.”

The research also revealed that home care recipients had higher rates of ED presentations, unplanned hospitalisations and potentially preventable hospital visits. Specifically, they accounted for 43% of ED presentations, 40% of unplanned hospitalisations and 12% of preventable hospitalisations, in contrast to 38%, 33% and 8%, respectively, for those in residential aged care.

The implications of unplanned hospitalisations and ED presentations are significant, posing challenges for both patients and the healthcare system at large.

These findings underscore the pressing need to address the healthcare needs of seniors, particularly those receiving home care and to implement strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of unplanned hospitalisations and ED visits among older Australians.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

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