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Hospital services for older people

Acute care hospitals are an important safeguard for older Australians, because as we age we are prone to serious illness. 

Who's at risk?

People aged between 65 and 75 are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as the rest of the population, and those aged over 85 years are more than five times as likely to be admitted to hospital.

However, hospitalisation is a difficult time for older people in particularly those who have become frail and in need of help. 

It is not uncommon for an older person to become more dependent or confused after hospitalisation. Modern hospital care should strive to avoid this deterioration but sometimes it can still happen.

Families and carers

Involvement of families and carers in their health care is important and welcomed by all hospital staff as this can help reorientate and reintegrate the older person after they have recovered from their illness. 

Please go to the Hospital services page for more information about services in your areas.

Improving care for older people in hospital

We are committed to providing the best services and care to older people in hospital.

In 2017, SA Health identified five priority areas to improve the care of older people in hospital and ensure care is provided in the most appropriate location for a person’s condition. The priority areas include:

  1. Outlining when an older people should be taken to an emergency department and identifying alternatives to hospital where appropriate. This includes employing a staff member in the emergency departments at the major metropolitan hospitals (Royal Adelaide Hospital, Lyell McEwin Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre) to assess the care needs of older people, identify alternative care options and plan the coordinated care of a person if they are admitted to hospital.
  2. Developing standards of care for older patients who struggle with memory or thinking skills (cognitive impairment), such as dementia. This includes training hospital staff in how to care for people with cognitive impairment, and screening people for cognitive impairment when they are in hospital.
  3. Creating a Health Passport for patients to take home when they leave hospital. The Health Passport will include all of the relevant information a person needs to continue their care once they leave hospital.
  4. Ensuring a discharge summary is provided to a person’s General Practitioner (GP) when they leave hospital.
  5. Collecting timely, relevant and accurate performance data to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Find out more about the priority areas in the video below.

These priority areas will be addressed by hospitals and services across South Australia to ensure we are providing the best possible care to older people in hospital.

Please go to the Hospital services page for more information about services in your area

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