Health Status and Health Care Trends of Individuals Accessing Australian Aged Care Programs Over a Decade: The Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) Historical Cohort

Maria C Inacio, Catherine E Lang, Sarah C E Bray, Renuka Visvanathan, Craig Whitehead, Elizabeth C Griffith, Keith Evans, Megan Corlis, Steve L Wesselingh

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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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2020

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