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Is CARE still part of health care? A report on hospital care of older Australians

McDonald, T. A., 2008

Canadian Association of Gerontology (CAG) London, Ontario


Background: Anecdotal reports of unsafe practices associated with older hospital patients were investigated. Using national statements on standards for hospital care of older people, a survey gathered aged care providers’ views on whether hospitals meet standards they set for themselves.

Objective: The aim was to determine the extent to which anecdotal reports of mistreatment of older people in care by hospital and transport staff were true.

Methods: A national survey of aged care homes invited their stories and responses to the anecdotal evidence provided in an information letter and a printed form or email address for them to respond.

Results: Problem areas identified included: Timing of transfers from hospitals (70.89%); Coordination problems (51.21%);Information on resident’s condition (72.51%); Appropriate hospital management of mentally confused patients (41.42%); Nutritional status of patients on discharge (28.30%); Skin integrity status of patients on discharge (66.04%); Adequate documentation of medical and nursing treatment in hospital (78.17%); Information provided by hospital clinicians to patients’ families (50.67%); and Medication regime prescribed by medical staff prior to patient leaving hospital (63.43%). A concurrent evaluation of hospital performance against national standards revealed an equally poor result.

Conclusions: Responses by aged care professional provide a worrying perception of hospital performance related to the care and safety of older people. The issues identified and recommendations made within this report have provided a basis upon which more effective consultation, hospital quality monitoring, management and safe, caring practice can be built.

CITATION McDonald T.A. (2008) Is CARE still part of health care? A report on hospital care of older Australians. Canadian Assoc. Gerontology 37th Annual Scientific and Educational meeting “Aging Globally and Locally: Seeing the forest and the trees” London, Ontario 23-26 October.

NOTE McDonald, T. (2007) For Their Sake: Can we improve the quality and safety of resident transfers from acute hospitals to residential aged care? The full report can be accessed at For the executive summary:

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