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Older people and their experiences of hospitals

McDonald, T. A. & Young, R., 2009

IAHSA Conference, London, England


Background: In every health or aged care situation there are those who provide care, those who collaborate on care and treatment decisions and those who are bystanders to the process – and then there are those who directly experience the results of all this attention.

Objective: In this presentation information gathered on the experiences of older age patients attending hospital for treatment will be shared. Several areas of risk associated with being elderly and travelling to hospital and back have been identified and also aspects of hospital services that could be improved are described.

Methods and Results: The results of a national survey of aged care homes formed the basis of the report, For Their Sake: Can we improve the quality and safety of resident transfers from acute hospitals to residential aged care? released late 2007, provide a snapshot of hospital performance related to the care and safety of older people and raises questions about the attitudes of medical and nursing clinicians towards older patients. The issues identified and recommendations made within this report provide a basis upon which more effective consultation, hospital quality monitoring, management and safe, caring practice can be built.

Conclusions: Recommended strategies in terms of service partnerships, continuity of care and performance monitoring systems geared to overcoming these known dangers and reduce the likelihood of harm befalling vulnerable older people in hospitals will be presented.

Description of what will take place during the presentation:

The background to the survey will be presented by Mr Young who as CEO of the ACAA became aware of anecdotal reports of poor practice by hospitals in relation to the care of older patients. Professor McDonald will then present a brief overview of the survey findings and recommendations. The session will be concluded with an interactive awareness heightening exercise using examples from the survey responses and suggested strategies that could reduce risks of harm to this vulnerable group of people.

CITATION McDonald T. (2009) Older people and their experiences of hospitals 8th International Conference of the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) London, 20-22 July

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:

Last updated 18/11/2019
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