Rehabilitation and convalescent hospital stay in New South Wales: an analysis of 3,979 women aged 75+
Objectives: With a rapidly ageing population, it is imperative to examine health service costs and plan appropriately for the future. This paper determines the factors related to extended hospital stay for ‘Rehabilitation’ or ‘Convalescence’, as defined by ICD-10 coding, in acute hospital settings for older women in New South Wales, Australia.
Methods: Participants were from the 1921–26 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. For this analysis, self-reported survey data were linked to the NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection and the National Death Index.
Results: Of the 3,979 participants, 88% had a hospitalisation in the 13-year observation period, and 37% had either a rehabilitation or convalescence admission in an acute hospital setting. In the multivariate model, living in a regional or remote area was the only variable positively associated with having a rehabilitation or convalescence hospitalisation (AOR=1.58 [1.33, 1.87]).
Conclusions: Area of residence is the determining factor for rehabilitation or convalescence hospital admissions. These long stay admissions are not necessarily inappropriate, but due to a lack of other non-acute care options.
Implications for public health: Increased availability of rehabilitation and respite care in non-acute settings will not only improve older patient care, but will also reduce the burden on acute hospitals.