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New institutionalisation following acute hospital admission: a retrospective cohort study

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    Rights statement: © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

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Original languageEnglish
JournalAge and Ageing
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2016


Background: Institutionalisation following acute hospital admission is common and yet poorly described, with policy documents advising against this transition. Objective: To characterise the individuals admitted to a care home on discharge from an acute hospital admission and to describe their assessment. Design & Setting: A retrospective cohort study of people admitted to a single large Scottish teaching hospital. Subjects: 100 individuals admitted to the acute hospital from home and discharged to a care home. Methods: A single researcher extracted data from ward-based case notes. Results: People discharged to care homes were predominantly female (62%), widowed (52%) older adults (mean 83.6 years) who lived alone (67%). 95% had a diagnosed cognitive disorder or evidence of cognitive impairment. One third of cases of delirium were unrecognised. Hospital stays were long (median 78.5 days; range 14-231 days) and transfers between settings were common. Family request, dementia, mobility, falls risk and behavioural concerns were the commonest reasons for the decision to admit to a care home. 55% were in the acute hospital when the decision for a care home was made and 44% of that group were discharged directly from the acute hospital. Conclusions: Care home admission from hospital is common and yet there are no established standards to support best practice. Decisions should involve the whole multidisciplinary team in partnership with patients and families. Documentation of assessment in the case notes is variable. We advocate the development of interdisciplinary standards to support the assessment of this vulnerable and complex group of patients.

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