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The influence of clinical problems, age and social support on outcomes for elderly persons referred to regional aged care assessment teams

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Medicine

Author: Cape, R. D., Gibson, S. J.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 1994


BACKGROUND: Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs) have been established throughout Australia during the past seven years. Early studies of their effect have concentrated on their impact on the rate of institutionalisation of disabled elderly, the clinical characteristics of referred cases and the relationship between disability and recommended care plan. AIMS: The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between age, clinical features and social characteristics of ACAT subjects with outcomes at 12 months after assessment. METHODS: The examination of an arbitrary sample of persons referred to ACATs over a year by one generalist geriatrician with follow-up of all cases by the three ACATs associated with the study was carried out. All analyses were performed on raw data presented as categorical variables in the form of contingency tables. RESULTS: The sample included 324 subjects who suffered from 2030 clinical problems with a mean of 6.5 per person aged 75 or over and 5.5 for those under 75. Cardiovascular and neurological disease were the commonest source of problems. Study of accommodation outcome at 12 months, for those subjects who survived this period revealed that, in the older group, over 60% of subjects with neurological disease were resident in nursing homes while the majority of all other groups remained in the community, as did two-thirds of those aged under 75. Admission to a nursing home was independent of social support for older subjects with neurological disease, but it played a significant role in those with cardiopulmonary or musculoskeletal disease. CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates that for one-year survivors there is an increased likelihood of admission to a nursing home of people aged 75 or over with neurological disease, while those under 75 were more likely to remain at home. The association was independent of whether spouse, family or friends were living with the subject.

Further Details

Pages: 378-85
Volume: 24
Issue: 4
Accession Number: 28.1.03
Keywords: Victoria, older, health improvement, assessment
Reads: 191