Acute hospital discharge delays are a pressing concern for many health care administrators. In Canada, a delayed discharge is defined by the alternate level of care (ALC) construct and has been the target of many provincial health care strategies. Little is known on the patient characteristics that influence acute ALC length of stay. This study examines which characteristics drive acute ALC length of stay for those awaiting nursing home admission.
Population-level administrative and assessment data were used to examine 17,111 acute hospital admissions designated as alternate level of care (ALC) from a large Canadian health region. Case level hospital records were linked to home care administrative and assessment records to identify and characterize those ALC patients that account for the greatest proportion of acute hospital ALC days.
ALC patients waiting for nursing home admission accounted for 41.5% of acute hospital ALC bed days while only accounting for 8.8% of acute hospital ALC patients. Characteristics that were significantly associated with greater ALC lengths of stay were morbid obesity (27?day mean deviation, 99% CI?=?±14.6), psychiatric diagnosis (13?day mean deviation, 99% CI?=?±6.2), abusive behaviours (12?day mean deviation, 99% CI?=?±10.7), and stroke (7?day mean deviation, 99% CI?=?±5.0). Overall, persons with morbid obesity, a psychiatric diagnosis, abusive behaviours, or stroke accounted for 4.3% of all ALC patients and 23% of all acute hospital ALC days between April 1st 2009 and April 1st, 2011. ALC patients with the identified characteristics had unique clinical profiles.
A small number of patients with non-medical days waiting for nursing home admission contribute to a substantial proportion of total non-medical days in acute hospitals. Increases in nursing home capacity or changes to existing funding arrangements should target the sub-populations identified in this investigation to maximize effectiveness. Specifically, incentives should be introduced to encourage nursing homes to accept acute patients with the least prospect for community-based living, while acute patients with the greatest prospect for community-based living are discharged to transitional care or directly to community-based care.
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Canada shares many similarities with other industrialized countries around the world, including a rapidly aging population. What sets Canada uniquely apart is the collaborative approach that has been enacted in the health care system and the aging research initiatives. Canada has tremendous pride in its publicly funded health care system that guarantees universal coverage for health care services on the basis of need, rather than ability to pay. It is also distinguished as a multicultural society that is officially bilingual. Aging research has developed rapidly over the past decade. In particular, the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging is one of the most comprehensive research platforms of its kind and is expected to change the landscape of aging research.
Research by Canadian geriatricians has grown significantly since the Canadian Society of Geriatric Medicine was founded in 1981. Most research has been clinical or related to health service use. More recently, the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA) has proved an important focus for population-based research, and research on dementia. An increasing number of Canadian geriatricians have undertaken formal research training, and the CSHA study team and other groups are providing opportunities for multicentre, multidisciplinary, collaborative studies. These developments point to continued growth in research by Canadian geriatricians, most likely research with a clinical and population focus and employing multicenter designs.
Utilization review is a way to manage healthcare costs and is widespread in Canada, as managers attempt to use available acute-care beds in a best practice manner. As we reduce beds and decrease length of stay, we often wonder if the outcomes for patients are affected, particularly if the patients are elderly.
To compare drug treatment changes in older hip fracture patients with and without multi-dose drug dispensing (MDD) after discharge from hospital.
Hip fracture patients (aged 65 years or older) for whom the same prescribing procedure was used at discharge and at the 6-month follow-up were extracted from two patient cohorts consecutively recruited in 2008 (n = 100) and 2009 (n = 99), respectively. Of these hip fracture patients, 107 patients used MDD and 47 used ordinary prescriptions (OP) throughout the study period. Drug treatment was registered at discharge and at the 6-month follow-up. Each drug was classified as changed (withdrawn, dosage adjusted or added) or unchanged. The association between MDD and changes in drug treatment was analysed with generalised estimating equations (GEE). Age, sex, cognition, year of study and type of drug (fall-risk-increasing, fracture-preventing or other) were included in the model.
A total of 1,980 drugs were prescribed at discharge and at the 6-month follow-up to the 154 patients. Of the 1,413 drugs prescribed via MDD, 597 (43%) drugs were unchanged. The corresponding figure for drugs prescribed via OP was 166 out of 567 (29%) prescribed drugs. Analysis with GEE revealed an odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 1.66 (1.20-2.31) to 1.77 (1.38-2.27) for a drug to be classified as unchanged when prescribed via the MDD system.
MDD is associated with fewer changes in drug treatment compared with OP. Further studies of risks and benefits from this prescribing procedure are urged.