BACKGROUND: Understanding the health profile, service, and medicine use of Australians in the aged care sector will help inform appropriate service provision for our ageing population.
AIMS: To examine the 2006-2015 trends in (1) co-morbidities and frailty of individuals accessing aged care and (2) health services, medicine use, and mortality after entry into long term care.
METHODS: A cross-sectional and population-based trend analysis were conducted using the Registry of Senior Australians.
RESULTS: From 2006-2015, 509,944 individuals accessed permanent residential care, 206,394 home care, 283,014 respite, and 124,943 transition care. Over this time, the proportion of individuals accessing permanent residential care with high frailty scores (≥0.3) increased (19.7% to 49.7%), as did the proportion with 5-9 co-morbidities (46.4% to 54.5%), with similar trends observed for those accessing other services. The median number of medicines dispensed in the year after entering permanent residential care increased from 9 (interquartile range (IQR) 6-12) to 10 (IQR 7-14), while remaining stable in home care (2006:9 IQR 5-12, 2015:9, IQR 6-13). Short-term (within 100 days) mortality in those accessing permanent care was higher in 2006 (15.6%, 95%CI 15.2-16.0%) than 2015 (14.6%, 95%CI 14.3-14.9%), while longer term (101-1095 days, 2006: 44.3%, 95%CI 43.7-45.0%, 2015: 46.4%, 95%CI 45.8-46.9%) mortality was higher. Mortality in individuals accessing home care did not change.
CONCLUSION: The health of older Australians accessing aged care programs has declined while frailty increased, with an increasing use of medicine and worse long-term mortality in some. Funding and care models need to adapt to this changing profile. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.