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Injury prevention for people aged 65 and above

Macquarie University

  • Early-Mid Career Fellowship
Date Funded:
  • 1 February, 2017
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Associate Professor Rebecca Mitchell

Increasing life expectancy has resulted in a higher proportion of older individuals (≥65 years) in the population compared to a decade ago. As the population ages, demand will increase for hospital and aged care services, including permanent residential aged care (RAC), respite RAC, and transitional care (TC). The number of injury-related hospitalisations for older individuals are growing, accounting for 27 per cent of hospitalised injury.

Following an injury, older individuals may require assistance to perform activities of daily living (ADL), either transitionally as they return to their prior ability, or on a more permanent basis. Prior research has identified that age, functional ability, cognitive impairment, depression, multimorbidity and falls are commonly associated with aged care placements. However, individual and psychosocial characteristics associated with admission/return to RAC have not been examined following a hospitalised injury at a population-level, nor have factors associated with entry into supplementary care programs, such as TC or respite RAC, been identified. For older individuals, there is limited information available regarding their care transitions between the home, hospital, RAC, respite RAC and TC following a hospitalised injury in NSW. Suboptimal care transitions may result in diminished ADL and increased costs, including through re-hospitalisation.

This research will examine factors that influence older individuals transitioning between services and will advance the understanding of the influence of individual and psychosocial characteristics on post-acute care placement of individuals who are hospitalised following an injury. Ultimately, this information will be invaluable in influencing policy, driving change, and informing planning of the post-acute phase healthcare for older individuals in NSW and to identify future priority areas for research.