From Hospital to Home: Improving Care Outcomes for Older People

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Care for Older People

Australian Health Ministers noted the benefits of a national approach for improving care for older people as evidenced in the Annual Report 2004-05 From hospital to home: Improving care outcomes for older people under the National Action Plan.

The National Action Plan was developed by the Care of Older Australians Working Group, a sub-committee of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council and is driving significant improvements in the way we care for older people.

It arose in response to a census of all older people in public hospitals in Australia in 2002, that highlighted one in five older people in hospital were staying longer than necessary because they had to wait to access rehabilitation, nursing home or residential aged care settings.

The Commonwealth and states and territories are working together to implement a range of initiatives identified in the National Action Plan. Australian Health Ministers noted the achievements to date including:

  • Development of the Age-friendly principles and practices to improve the care of older people in hospitals. These recognise that older people are the core business of health services and that hospitals should better meet their needs. The principles will underpin the way services are delivered to older people in hospitals.

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  • Improved assessment, early identification and active management of older people's health needs, which are helping to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions or premature admissions to long term residential care.

  • There is an increased focus on discharge planning and the move from hospital to home and the national Transition Care Program will further improve care and discharge options for older people.

  • Nationally, all health care providers are implementing training programs to ensure that staff are aware of the issues relating specifically to caring for older people and have the skills to provide this care.

  • Health Ministers acknowledged the importance of achieving the goals outlined in the National Action Plan so that we continue to improve the way we care for older Australians.

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